“I am a little puzzled to note that there are members who dare to compare the European Union to a communist dictatorship. Michael Roth is going through hell. Not only does the German SPD Minister for Europe have no room for maneuver on the part of the Council to negotiate with MEPs, but when he goes, like Monday evening, to the European Parliament, it is to come to an understanding. to say horrors on the part of Polish deputies. In question, the perennial problem of respect for the rule of law. Poland and Hungary are subject to an Article 7 sanction procedure which is, in fact, stuck in the Council. It is now a question of including respect for the rule of law as a condition conditioning the payment of European funds from the future long-term budget (2021-2027).
It does not take more for the Poles to unleash the German presidency of the EU. “I have no more words when I hear the German presidency of the European Parliament talking to us here about violation of values in certain Member States,” Jadwiga Wisniewska, Polish MEP from Silesia (former teacher) told him. And I can’t find my words when I hear the German presidency talk about justice and the rule of law. Perhaps it is time that you considered damages to Poland after WWII since you destroyed our country. You do not respect the democratically elected government in Warsaw. “
The unresolved case of war reparations
The specter of Nazi Germany is brought out as every time a disagreement arises with Berlin. This was true with the Greeks; Italy flirted with this bad memory in the spring when Germany balked at solidarity. Now it is Poland that jumps with both feet into the pool of memories.
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The war reparations conflict between Germany and Poland is not over. Eighty years after the war, Warsaw is still claiming nearly 850 billion euros from Berlin, or 100 billion more than the European recovery plan (750 billion euros)! The demand is taken most seriously by the Polish Prime Minister in person, Mateusz Morawiecki, who pointed out, in August 2019, that Poland had lost 6 million people during the Second World War. “Much more than other states that have received significant reparations. It is not fair. It cannot remain as it is, ”he concluded. The issue of war reparations had been settled, it was believed, by an agreement dating back to 1953. However, Mateusz Morawiecki does not recognize the scope of this arrangement because it was signed by the GDR and communist Poland, two countries whose he engagement was not free within the Warsaw Pact. Everything would therefore have to be redone.
The Frugaux are putting the pressure on
This kind of question goes very largely over the head of Michael Roth, who tries painfully, at his small level, to give birth to the European recovery plan before the Greek calends. Germany is also caught between the hammer of PiS and the anvil of frugal countries. The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Denmark – who are also net payers – no longer want to let anything go and insist that EU funds can be suspended if a member state no longer respects the principles generals of the rule of law. The budgetary clause on the rule of law must be, in their eyes, extremely severe. On the other hand, Hungary and Poland threaten not to be able to ratify the stimulus plan if the budget clause is not strictly limited to what was agreed at the European summit in July: only the proper use of funds must be monitored, the rule of law not having to be invoked in a strictly budgetary matter.
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Obviously, when the question is debated in the European Parliament, the diplomatic measure is no longer appropriate. Poland was also not thrilled with the publication the previous week of the first report on the rule of law in the 27 countries of the Union. The report on Poland underlines the concerns raised by the justice reforms and the confusion of roles between the Minister of Justice and the anti-corruption prosecution. In addition, Michael Roth, in his introductory remarks, had the misfortune to allude to the difficult situation of the LGBTI community in Poland, where areas – a third of the territory – declare themselves “free LGBTI”. Roth advocated for equal rights for all people.
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There, it is the Polish MEP Patryk Jaki, elected on the European list of PiS without being a member, who rebelled: “You attack Poland by making historical references, you accuse us of being an authoritarian country. . Yet when Poland was attacked by Russia and Germany, you were on their side. When it comes to the struggle for freedom, you have abandoned Poland. And so, if you went back a few years, you wouldn’t be that arrogant. Now, you tell us about these LGBTI areas, know that we have never discriminated against homosexuals. You are against Poland, quite simply because the economic situation there is good. You could learn things from Poland. “MP Jaki obtained the reinforcement of a Slovak colleague, Mial Uhrik, elected from Our Slovakia, nationalist, homophobic, anti-EU, anti-NATO party:” You want to punish the Poles, the Hungarians, the Slovaks, who do not simply do not want to receive migrants, who do not want to follow an LGBTI agenda, blindly obey NGOs or liberal journalists. In Slovakia, in central Europe, we have such regimes, which you qualify as totalitarians. People are getting poorer and poorer and you are blocking the European budget and the payment of aid by imposing such stupid measures! “
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It will be up to the European Parliament to adopt a position on the rule of law clause. Tightening it would delay a little longer the adoption of a recovery plan that the European economy badly needs. To accept a minimum clause would be to deny the principles and leave the field open to authoritarian regimes against their civil society. Everyone will vote in conscience.
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