Correspondent in Brussels
The European Comission is determined to deduct from the budgetary payments that would correspond to receive Poland the amount of fines to which this country has been condemned by the European Court of Justice and which amount to more than one and a half million euros a day. The Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, has stated in an interview with the Belgian newspaper ‘Le Soir’ that for the sanctions to be more serious, the agreement of the European Council is needed, that is, of the other countries, which has never happened if the objective is to punish one of them.
«Poland will have to do what is asked of it [eliminar la cámara disciplinaria que controla el trabajo de los jueces] or pay penalties. And if the Poles do not pay, the funds will have to be withheld from their European funding. “That is quite easy to implement,” says the commissioner.
However, in an allusion to the lawsuit that the Parliament has filed against the Commission because it considers that they do not do enough to enforce the European rules to the Polish Government, Reynders clearly points out that the key is not held by the Community Executive, but by the Council , where the governments of the different member countries are gathered. “Another way – says Reynders – is to go to the Council and what we have to do at some point is to convince the Council to take a position now. Or about article 7, where we know that majorities are complicated [cuatro quintas partes de los 27 países miembros primero, es decir 24 votos para iniciar el procedimiento y unanimidad de todos los países exceptuando aquel que está siendo señalado para aplicar sanciones] or on conditionality, which requires a qualified majority [55% de los votos de los países, que computan cada uno según sus dimensiones, siempre que representen a 15 países y sumen al menos el 65% de la población de la UE]. “The legal route is there,” says the European Minister of Justice, who is determined to return to the Court if necessary.
The role of Belgium
The clearance of the Commission, sending the Polish matter to the responsibility of the Council, undoubtedly has to do with the fact that the Parliament has initiated this strange maneuver of complaint before the European Justice to the Commission for not applying the conditionality mechanism, knowing that it is being challenged before the same court by the Polish Government and that although its legality is confirmed, its application also requires the consent of a clear majority of the other countries.
The only government that has put the cards on the table has been that of Belgium, whose prime minister, Alexander De Croo, had accused the Polish government of “taking the EU for an ATM” and only worrying about receiving funds without agreeing to comply. the obligations of membership. The polish government has called the Belgian ambassador for consultations, a completely unprecedented diplomatic gesture among members of the EU.