20 Feb 2024, 12:57

Warsaw presents EU with sanctions procedure exit plan

BRUSSELS, Feb 20, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Poland is to present an action plan on

Tuesday to end European Union action against Warsaw over controversial
judicial reforms introduced by its previous nationalist government.

The nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS)government was accused of
undermining the independence of judges.

And the EU blocked tens of billions of euros of funds earmarked for Poland as
part of a post-Covid recovery plan.

Polish Justice Minister Adam Bodnar will present a roadmap to end the
sanctions to European affairs ministers at a meeting in Brussels and to EU
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

After the fraught relations, the EU Commission in January welcomed the new
pro-European government's efforts to restore the rule of law which it said
could allow the release of money.

The commission activated Article 7 of the EU treaty against Poland in
December 2017. This is a last resort procedure used in case of threats to the
rule of law.

Article 7 -- also triggered against Hungary in 2018 -- can theoretically go
as far as suspending a state's voting rights in the Council of the EU.

Though the Commission considered the Polish reforms had brought the judiciary
under the political control of the ruling majority, the procedure only led to
threats rather than sanctions.

Poland's justice minister has expressed hope that the Article 7 action could
be formally reversed before European Parliament elections scheduled for June

In November the EU approved an unconditional advance payment of 5.1 billion
euros to Poland.

The remaining funds will be frozen until reforms address Brussels' concerns.

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