DARIUSZ WILCZEK*

Dear European Liberals,  

I believe majority of you are concerned about the current political situation in counties of Central East Europe and especially in two of them – Poland and Hungary. Today (15th of July 2021) European Commission officially announced they has started infringement procedure against those two, so procedure which is stipulated in famous article 7 Treaty of European Union (case of breach of European treaties by member-state). This procedure can lead truly to expelling Poland and Hungary from the block. Many commentators make here a comparison with Brexit, but this analysis is simply wrong, even if consequences might be similar. Brits decided to leave the block on their own, after years of public debates, discussions and finally independent decision of people, made in referendum.

Here we are talking about countries which break law of EU on regular basics and decided to ignore rulings of European Court of Justice. European Commission in the grounds of their decision mentions current situation of LGBT+ community and politics of those two countries against the minorities. But this is just only part of the truth. Of course, situation of sexual minorities, rainbow families and generally speaking other minorities in Poland and Hungary is pretty grim and getting worse and worse every day, nevertheless process of undermining democracy here is way more advanced. It is pretty hard to call Hungary as a liberal democracy any longer. This is an authoritarian regime with no freedom of speech, independent journalism or judiciary. Same path of ‘’development’’ was chosen by Poland few years ago while the situation in this country is better now only because the regime is younger than in Hungary. The list of breaches of EU law is very long here and doesn’t leave you a space for any doubts whether decision of European Commission was rightful. Poland and Hungary right now don’t meet so called convergence criteria stipulated in the Copenhagen treaty.  Make long story short – if Poland and Hungary apply today to join EU, the application would be probably rejected. But they are already member states, someone made a mistake? They didn’t deserve to be admitted? Of course NOT! The major point here is that they completely changed their policy and at the certain moment decided to build ‘’alternative democracy’’ based on Russian standards.

What can we do right now? – that’s the questions everyone asks. The answer is not that obvious. Poland and Hungary must face serious repercussions, otherwise the violation of fundamental rights will only increase there. Will we face new Brexit? Or to be more precise – Polexit and Hunexit? It’s even harder to predict. I believe, we as European citizens must stand strong to protect democratic and fundamental values, even if the price to be paid will be pretty high, for both sides.

*Dariusz Wilczek is an ALDE Individual Member and an AIM Local Coordinator in the Czech Republic.

Poland and Hungary, clash with the EU: a new Brexit?
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2 thoughts on “Poland and Hungary, clash with the EU: a new Brexit?

  1. My reaction is that we need to look at what we can do as citizens of other countries. How can we make sure that people in our countries are aware of what is happening elsewhere. And just as important to recognise that our own countries could go down the same path.
    An important piece of work which Individual Members could do would be to ensure that member parties are supported in recognising the importance of this. We must make sure that we don’t take democracy for granted.
    As far as the U.K. is concerned, we must recognise the threat to democracy here. We have no written constitution. Boris Johnson has made it clear that he wants to bring the Supreme Court under control, to stop them meddling in politics as he would put it.
    Thank you Dariusz for highlighting these issues. I hope we will recognise that we have a role to play in fighting for the rights of us all.

  2. Perhaps some sanctions rather than total ejection from the bloc! I think the people in these countries must be given some time, and help from Brussels, to effect democratic change. To kick them out would alienate them forever, and leave those LGBT rainbow communities and other oppressed groups, at the mercy of these dreadful administrations! To effect change is surely preferable to the alternative of abandonment! I guess a timescale of 2 to 4 years or so might be sufficient with sanctions in place! The qustion is what sanctions? I am not really in a position to know what would damage the regimes without impacting too much on the people, I’ ll leave that to Brussels!

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