Wednesday, August 4

The European Commission initiates a new sanctioning procedure against Poland and Hungary


Correspondent in Brussels

Updated:

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The European Comission has initiated a new package of legal actions against Hungary Y Poland, due to the recent approval of laws that are considered discriminatory towards Lgbtq groups. The announcement coincides with the publication of a judgment of the European Court of Luxembourg in which it confirms the criterion already advanced in a precautionary measure, by which it declares that the creation in Poland of a disciplinary chamber to control judges violates European legislation. The new disciplinary action against the two countries may also end in European justice and increases tension with these two governments to a degree never before known in the EU.

The case against Hungary concerns a recently passed law that prohibited the representation of Lgbtq people in books, educational content or on television programs at times for those under 18 years of age, a measure that the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, denounced as “shameful” and that adds to the fact that more than a hundred Polish towns have passed resolutions proclaiming “zones free of LGBT ideology.” The Hungarian authorities consider this legislation as part of their defense of traditional values. The recently expelled prime minister from the European People’s Party, Viktor Orbán, would have been inspired by the Russian legislation that prohibits what is considered “propaganda in favor of homosexuality”.

As regards Poland, the Commission criticizes the Warsaw authorities for not cooperating with its investigations into these “zones free of LGBT ideology”, and considers that they are discriminatory. The two countries now have a period of two months to respond and explain their reasons, before the Community Executive can decide whether to continue through sanctions.

Supremacy of national legislation

The announcement of the start of this new sanctioning procedure was announced this Thursday just after the Luxembourg Court of Justice ruled that the disciplinary chamber created in Poland to punish judges is incompatible with EU law.

The day before, the Polish Constitutional Court had declared the supremacy of national legislation when it came to refusing to abide by the precautionary measures that precisely demanded that this disciplinary chamber refrain from acting in any case.

Warsaw and Budapest now have two months to explain to the Community Executive the reasons for their legislation

The Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said on Thursday that the decision of his country’s Constitutional Court was “an obvious conclusion for any Polish citizen that our Constitution is the highest legal rank.” A Commission spokesman said on Friday however that the European institution “is deeply concerned about yesterday’s decision because it actually reaffirms our serious concerns about the rule of law in Poland.”

Since returning to power in 2015, the national-populist PiS (Law and Justice) party has behaved extremely extravagantly towards the EU, to the point that in the Polish press there is already talk of a path towards its exit, which has already been baptized as’thumb’.

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