Brussels opens file to Poland for the law that threatens the opposition leader | International

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The European Commission has gone from words to deeds against Poland for the rule that establishes the creation of a commission to investigate Russian influence between 2007 and 2022, the so-called tusk law, which the Polish opposition denounces as tailor-made to persecute Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party. Brussels has opened a disciplinary file for understanding, once again, that the ultra-conservative Government of Warsaw may be violating the rule of law. "The college of commissioners has addressed the situation in Poland and has agreed to start an infringement procedure by sending a formal notification in relation to the extraordinary commission to study Russian interference", announced the executive vice-president of the Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, after the regular Wednesday meeting.

Brussels, which has multiple fronts open with Poland for its attacks on the rule of law, has not waited for the amendments announced by the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, last Friday to be approved in Parliament. The norm, after all, is already in force and the rectification has not yet passed the category of announcement, some five months before the legislative elections scheduled for autumn.

The Polish reaction upon learning of Dombrovskis' letter has been very similar to the one it has had in previous days on the same matter. "Our goal is clear: to investigate and limit Russian influence in Poland and Europe," he begins by saying. Szynkowski vel Sek, Minister of European Affairs, in a tweet. The first mention of the fight against "Russian interference" is common in the justifications of the Polish government when it talks about the issue these days in its responses to foreign criticism. "We will be delighted to present the factual and legal arguments in this case after hearing the doubts of the European Commission," he continued, in line with Duda's response to Washington's objections last week.

Barely nine days have passed since the Polish president sanctioned the law that Parliament had approved and that seeks to investigate Russian interference in the country, examining the decisions of politicians and journalists between 2007 and 2022. After Duda's decision, Brussels and the United States The United States have pressured the Polish ultra-conservatives, in the Government and at the head of state, to rectify. They understand, like the opposition, the Ombudsman and the country's legal experts, that the law allows disqualification from holding public office for 10 years when it is concluded that someone is guilty, without judicial control. Among the changes proposed by the Polish president five days after signing the law is to change those sanctions to opinions.

Last Friday, the Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, sent a letter to Warsaw demanding information about this rule and the "opinion of interested parties, including the Ombudsman and the legal services of the Sejm [la Cámara baja polaca] and the Senate, as well as other documents that are considered relevant”. Institutions have been critical of the rule.

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Five days later, the first formal step of the infringement files in the EU has arrived, the sending of the notification letter. Poland now has a period of time – normally two months – to reply to the Commission. If you are not convinced, Brussels will send a reasoned opinion to the Polish government demanding concrete changes to the law within a period that, again, is usually another two months. And if it is not finally fulfilled, the European Executive can go to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

All administrative paths have already been traveled repeatedly between Brussels and Warsaw in recent years on account of violations of the principles of the rule of law by the Polish ultra-conservatives, in power since 2015. This same week, the CJEU has ruled against Poland for a reform that he made in 2019 of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, for judges, because both the European magistrates and the Commission understand that it violates judicial independence. And, in addition, there is at least one other pending matter in Luxembourg: the Commission took the Polish State to court for the rulings of its Constitutional Court, which question that Union law prevails over national law and that CJEU rulings are binding . The Commission's claim goes so far as to doubt the “independence and impartiality” of the Polish Constitutional Court.

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