This defiance is despite commission threats of sanctions and its unprecedented decision to accuse Warsaw of ‘endangering democracy’. Warsaw accused the Commission of overreaching and trampling on Poland’s sovereignty.
Negotiations took place this summer, without any success. December 19, the Polish government will take political control of the country’s highest court.
The Commission which must formally respond to Poland’s disregarding of a deadline last month to begin reversing its reforms to the court, said it had not yet decided on its next steps.
An option is to propose action against Poland that will at least symbolically uphold the EU Treaty principles and force member states to take a position on possible sanctions. But, Poland’s ally Hungary will block any action.
Other EU countries are anyhow unwilling to intervene for fear it would achieve sour relations with Warsaw. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hinted already that proposing sanctions would be pointless ‘because some member states are already saying they will refuse to invoke it’. After the Brexit vote member states don’t want to risk alienating another big EU country.
Since coming to power a year ago, Law & Justice has passed laws giving it control over public media channels and the public prosecutor, while purging opponents from state-run companies. EU officials in ‘Brussels’ fear the Polish government is replicating the ‘illiberal democracy’ of Hungary’s Viktor Orban.