EU ‘not bashing Poland’ over rule of law, Juncker says
AMSTERDAM – Agence France-Presse
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gives a press conference in the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, on January 7, 2016, as part of his visit to the Netherlands. AFP PhotoEuropean Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker denied Jan. 7 that Brussels was unfairly targeting Poland over its government’s controversial changes to the judiciary and media.
In an unprecedented move, the European Commission is set to debate the state of rule of law in Poland on January 13, the first step in a potentially punitive process aimed at buttressing democracy and rights in the 28 EU states.
“Let’s not overdramatize. It’s an important issue but we have to have friendly and good relations with Poland. Our approach is very constructive - we are not bashing Poland,” Juncker told a press conference in Amsterdam.
“Poland is an important and a full member of the EU. We are at the beginning of the procedure. Now we are in discussion with Poland and I don’t want to speculate about further consequences. I don’t think we will come to that point.”
The EU move comes on the heels of legal moves giving Poland’s conservative and euroskeptic government the power to directly appoint the heads of public broadcasters and a controversial law reforming the country’s constitutional court
Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is backed by the Law and Justice (PiS) party that came to power in October after eight years in opposition, will visit Brussels for talks on Jan 18.