The Polish threat to the integrity of the European Union by Aram Martirosyan
The rise in the number of right wing nationalist governments over the recent years has not inspired an optimistic outlook on the prospect of the world affairs as it stands. The ever-growing roster of states that have succumbed to ultimately and militantly anti-democratic appeals or at least have given indications of validating those sentiments significantly more than usual now include Hungary, Sweden, Brazil, France, Philippines, the United States, etc. The last one is often perceived as the trigger, the turning point for the rollback of liberal politics internationally, and by far the most significant of the domestic political shifts of this nature. Considering, however, the current attentiveness and the sensitivity of the modern left and moderate conservatism to similar developments, Poland has been seemingly left out of the fray of observation and critique, all the while PiS (Law and Justice), which overtook both houses of parliament and the presidency in the 2015 elections – before president Trump was elected, now threatens the stability of the European Union and the probability of its expansion eastward. The former Soviet bloc nation has struggled with recollections of communist supervision and interference for the longest time – a sentiment which the party looks to exploit, crafting evocative analogies of European masters under the EU.
The party rose to prominence and took the entire legislative and executive branches immediately after former prime minister Tusk left in 2014 to head the European council, leaving his coalition bitterly divided and unable to display electoral competence and unity against PiS. With only the judiciary remaining independent, the party leadership lined the constitutional court with loyal justices and forced at least a third of the supreme court judges out. Media non-interference privileges were disregarded, even when the coverage was not necessarily negative, but rather topical, such as that of protests against the national parliament in 2016, for the coverage of which TVN24, one of the major networks, was fined in the amount of $415,000. The current government is not beyond utilizing state-influenced channels of media output to fling baseless allegations and smears against unfavorable figures or candidates, aligning themselves with and endorsing radical neo-nationalist organizations and activities.
A peculiar alliance that the state has seemingly forged in the wake of its democratic regression is Hungary. Such alignment has sprung not out of benefit of economic or other kind, but is rather culturally and historically reasoned.
The Polish state is compromising its own eligibility to participate in the European affairs as part of the Euro Union as part of the government activity comes in fairly explicit violation of Article 7, which permits the council to suspend voting rights of offender states and even revoke membership in case of a serious breach of seemingly primitive prerequisites. The backsliding also threatens to undo the reputability of the union as a whole as a league of states that do not tolerate anti-democratic compromise or allusions to authoritarianism.
Photo by Pixabay, Creative Commons Zero License.