Monday, 18 April 2016
Polish ultra-conservatives must not get away with this
The European Parliament has voiced its disapproval of creeping state control under the current government of Poland. Although the resolution is not binding on the state of Poland, it is probable that the dialogue which is to be opened between European parliamentarians and the Polish administration will yield results. There is a precedent in 2000, when the admittedly more extreme Freedom Party came to power in Austria. This led to the virtual "sending to Coventry" of Austria by the other member states of the EU, leading to the desired result.
It is important that the EU does not give in to what is at first sight a breach of Article 2 of the EU treaty. That would give a signal to any illiberal government (the current likely candidates are conservative, but any socialist party which came to power would also be tempted) in the EU to follow suit.
Many British Conservatives would like to see Turkey as a member of the EU because of the trade she would bring, and because of her membership of NATO. They would disregard the Erdoğan administration's attacks on democracy. If the EU gives in to Polish authoritarianism, it would set a dangerous precedent.
NB: Under Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU), the EU is founded on respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. All Member States share these values which must be defended by the EU, and by each individual Member State, says the text.