poland and the eu

Poland and the EU



step (2) series (2) on the table (2)
gather at stake commission
firm (3) enshrine rule of law
threat value (2) under threat
reform judiciary landmark
punish symbolic parliament
fair (3) point (3) significant
row (3) put a risk separation of powers
invoke decision unprecedented
treaty previous theoretically
vestige sanction suspension (2)
vote right (4) come to that
veto promise effectively
bid (2) in power single out
senator adopt (2) treatment (2)
meek appoint period (3)
law obedient article (4)
rule enhance tension (2)
key (2) unlikely right-wing
era core (2) inefficiency
critic move (3) corruption
justice left-wing take to the street
justice priority voice their concern
mire consider stand down


Video: Poland’s Government



A landmark decision was on the table as the European Commission gathered in Brussels.

At stake, one of the values enshrined in the core of European identity: the rule of law, which the commission says is under threat in Poland.

At the center of the row is a series of reforms, effectively giving parliament the power to appoint judges.

Frans Timmermans, European Commission Official: “Within a period of two years, a significant number of laws have been adopted, thirteen in total, which puts at serious risk the independence of the judiciary, and the separation of powers in Poland.”

The Commission has taken the unprecedented step of invoking Article 7 of the EU Treaty. Theoretically that could lead to sanctions, like the suspension of Poland’s voting rights.

But it’s unlikely to come to that: Hungary has already promised to veto such steps.

Nevertheless, it’s a highly symbolic move, one which will only probably increase tensions between Brussels and Warsaw.

The Polish government says it’s being singled out for unfair treatment.

Jan Maria Jackowski, Polish Government Senator: “In fact the point is to punish Poland for having an independent policy. And for that fact that it has stopped being the meek, obedient country it was under the previous government was in power.”

The ruling Law and Justice Party has made judicial reform one of its key priorities. It says the current system has too many vestiges of the Communist era, mired by inefficiency and corruption.

But critics say the legislation is bid by the leader of the right-wing Law and Justice Party, Jarosław Kaczyński, to enhance his power.

Over recent months, tens of thousands of Poles have taken to the streets to voice their concerns of the legislation.

Their government remained firm.

Now the EU has given Warsaw three months to consider changes to its plans. It seems unlikely that it will stand down.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. This maybe a watershed moment for the European Union. Is this entirely true, true, in the middle, maybe, perhaps, it’s not true or it’s entirely false?

2. Does the European Commission believe the Polish government is breaking EU rules? What is Warsaw doing wrong?

3. The EU could punish Poland. Is this correct or incorrect? What are the punishments?

4. Is Warsaw terrified or defiant in the face of possible sanctions?

5. Do Polish authorities think Brussels is being fair or prejudiced? Why do they think the EU is pressuring and threatening them?

6. Why is the Polish government undertaking reforms, according to government officials? Does the EU believe that?

7. All Poles support their government. Is this right or wrong?

8. Has Brussels given Warsaw an ultimatum? Will Poland likely comply?


A. Why do you think the government of Poland is enacting these reforms?

B. Have there been similar patterns in other countries?

C. There has to be a system of checks and balances, an independent judiciary, transparency, accountability, rule of law and whistle blowing. Why are these important?

D. Do people complain about abuse of power and corruption?

E. What might happen in the future?

F. What is the solution to oppression, corruption, tyranny, autocracy, and dictatorship?

Comments are closed.