04:34 GMT +3 hours25 June 2016
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Polish President Andrzej Duda,center, and the leader of Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, second left, attend the Prime Minister nomination ceremony for Beata Szydlo in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015

Germany Threatens Sanctions Against Poland Over 'Lack of Western Values'

© AP Photo/ Czarek Sokolowski
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German lawmakers are in agreement on the need to impose economic sanctions against Poland if Warsaw continues 'to ignore European principles and values', German weekly magazine Der Spiegel explains, quoting top CDU politicians including Volker Kauder, a man described as Chancellor Angela Merkel's 'right hand'.

Last year, Poland's conservative nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), led by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, captured both the presidency and parliament at elections in May and November. Since taking office, the party's lawmakers have used their parliamentary majority to initiate a series of controversial legal reforms, causing concerns both at home and abroad, specifically in Brussels and in Berlin.

The reforms include changes to the rules surrounding the operation of the country's constitutional court, and, more recently, a new media law, giving the government the power to appoint the heads of public television and radio broadcasters directly, which critics suggest amounts to the restriction of media freedom.

Since coming to power late last year, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo's PiS government has also eased out the head of the country's anti-corruption watchdog, and worked to limit opposition oversight over surveillance services, moves which, together with the initiatives regarding the courts and the public broadcasters, have been criticized as unconstitutional

The view from Berlin is that Warsaw must be punished for its alleged transgressions. Volker Kauder, the chairman and parliamentary group leader of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), advocates imposing sanctions against Poland, should the country continue to flout the EU-defined rule of law.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, published Saturday, Kauder noted that the EU must "find the courage to apply sanctions on the breach of European values," adding that "the Polish government should know that in Europe you cannot violate some fundamental values."

For his part, Herbert Reul, the chairman of the CDU/Christian Social Union in Bavaria group in the European Parliament, concurred with Kauder on the need to impose 'penalties' on Warsaw. "The economic sanctions are necessary if political dialogue does not lead to results," the politician told the magazine.

The lawmakers' commentary follow on the announcement made last week by EU media commissar Gunther Oettinger that the EU is preparing a series of 'special measures' against the Polish government, up to an including denying Warsaw voting rights in the EU if it continues to ignore Brussels' warnings.

"It says a lot that we are now activating the rule of law mechanism and putting Warsaw under supervision," Oettinger, the EU's Digital Economy and Society Commissioner, told Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung last Sunday. 

The 'mechanism' in question is the EU's 'framework for addressing systemic threats to the rule of law', and as a last resort allows Brussels to withdraw member states' voting rights if attempts at persuasion fail. The tool could be activated following an EC summit on Wednesday, where EU leaders will discuss Poland's controversial reforms.

Leading to fierce debate and protests inside Poland, the new laws and the reaction in Berlin and Brussels has also poured fuel on the fire of the growing conflict between Warsaw and the EU establishment, with angry Poles protesting what they see as Berlin and Brussels' bullying tactics. 

On Friday, at a volleyball match against Germany, Polish fans unfurled a large sign reading 'Protect your women, not our democracy!', referring to the sexual assaults against German women by Arab and North African migrants on New Year's eve in Cologne, and suggesting that Berlin should deal with its own problems before instructing its neighbours on how to run their affairs.

Anti-EU and anti-German sentiment is strong and growing stronger among the PiS government and their supporters. Not long ago, Der Spiegel explains, Poland's controversial foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski had alleged that up to now his county has been a "vassal of Berlin."

Related:
Over 20,000 People Rally in Warsaw Against Law Restricting Media Freedom
Brussels Draws Up Sanction Plan for Defiant Polish Government
EU Steps Up Pressure on Poland Over Constitutional Law Row
Will Poland Be the Next Chapter in the Political Crisis Plaguing Europe?
Tags:
political conflict, conflict, sanctions, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), European Parliament, Bundestag, Herbert Reul, Volker Kauder, Beata Szydlo, Andrzej Duda, Angela Merkel, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Germany, Poland
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  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    Russia would do well to balance Poland against Germany.
  • Mikhas
    As long as US needs Poland as a missile base for their anti-Russian warfare, Poles will get away with almost anything, even being anti-gay & anti-sexual-parades which really is a poke in the eye on the €Urofags and Soros and they know it.

    Germany will have to swallow their "values" for now...
  • Waćpan Zabichwatczilełp
    money is not all! Slavic nation , unite and beat western ill !
  • puffinwillow
    Kabal is angry that they cannot appoint their shills
  • Aon Duine
    Accusing Poland of anti-Western values while importing millions of Muslims? Yeah sure. Because Islam is a bastion of Freedom and Human Rights.
  • Blackie
    My emotional comment on Poles.
    They shouldn't be lecturing anyone, they are extremely racist, hate blacks, they deservce all the sanctions they'll get,
    I remember I was having a latte with this Pole in Britain, he was bad alright, calling me "you nigger!" and "Uncle Tom!" and all sorts of names, and he was impossible to extricate from, finally, a white pal saved me picking me up for karate practice.
    Then, on a more historical note: They fought against the USSR, Germany, the Catholic Church, now Europe, they certainly have an immense lust for freedom, but they should have realised that they would get into trouble before signing up to this oppressive, false PC, hypocritical EU.
    Maybe they could put their talents to use explaining the European trap to the Ukrainians before they fall into it as well?
    Lastly, I would like to say, I have a beautiful set of front teeth, this MMA fighter from Poland I mentioned earlier, threatened to knock them all out. These are hardly the people you want to put in charge of democracy in Europe unless you want to create a lot more work for dentists.
  • FeEisi
    "Protect your women, NOT our Democracy"
    Good one. That'll hurt Merkel.
  • Mother Gorilla
    Poles are certainly the right ones to exhort people to protect their women, since many of them are, especially when abroad, chronic drunkards and extremely likely to bother women on the streets, and especially women of colour.
  • Polanain reply toIvan Zadorozhny(Show commentHide comment)
    Ivan Zadorozhny, It will be difficult for Russia to do that. A lot of historical baggage being carried around.
  • Mother Gorillain reply toBlackie (Show commentHide comment)
    Africa, glad you still got your front teeth, but I was once walking on the street when a car with four Poles in it stopped next to me, and they asked me to hop on, and how much it would cost for all of them to have sex with me. I was not provocatively dressed at all, just walking home from school, minding my own business, so these are the same Poles who pretend to be shocked at abortion, gay and lesbian rights and other hip inflows from Western Europe...
  • Polanain reply toBlackie (Show commentHide comment)
    Africa, I wouldn't try to deny that such attitudes, and such people exist in Poland (i have friends here who have suffered similar incidents as you describe, and worse). However I've spent a long time in Poland and I can say with conviction that things are getting better.
  • Mother Gorilla
    Mind you, the Germans who are right now tightening up their rape, immigration and police laws to blur the line between verbal threats and deeds (as in the joke: "Honey, if you don't come to bed right now!" "You... , I call the police"), to send refugees back to their traumatic origins and to even strengthen the already corrupt and ineffective police forces and who have one of Europe's most sterile and self-censoring media boring you to tears are the last to be advising anyone advice on PC, the rule of law, freedom of speech or anything at all! Let's not be optimistic, it can only get worse!
  • Athanasios
    Democratic values a la cart.
  • Blackie in reply toPolana(Show commentHide comment)
    Polana,
    Hi there,
    Well my point was that it happens too many times to be a one off case. Also too much crazy macho stuff, but the Women are famous for being nice looking etc.
  • Blackie in reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
    Miss Germany,
    Thank you,
    I got the whitest teeth in town and I am going to keep it that way, by not talking to wild people.
  • Polanain reply toBlackie (Show commentHide comment)
    Africa, I make no claim about it being a one off case.
  • Blackie in reply toPolana(Show commentHide comment)
    Polana,
    Hi there,
    You are a decent chap, and I did not mean you.
    I worked in Security and I only repeat the story a Polish friend told me, qoute;"if we see any Black on a bus in Poland he is gonna get beaten up", unquote. The way he told it really scared me!
  • rishardhawk
    Poland should take full control of its destiny and step out of evil western control that is running European Countries and make efforts to become partner in BRICS.
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