The EU Commission is taking action against a new law by Poland’s national conservative government. Critics see the commission of inquiry into “Russian influence” as an attempt to eliminate opposition leader Tusk before the fall elections.
Poland’s national-conservative government is once again facing headwind from Brussels: The EU Commission is taking action against Warsaw because of a new law that could hinder the opposition. EU Deputy Commission President Valdis Dombrovskis said in Brussels that the authority had initiated infringement proceedings because of the controversial commission of inquiry into “Russian influence”.
Critics see the establishment of the commission as an attempt by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to politically eliminate opposition leader Donald Tusk before the parliamentary elections in autumn. The PiS had approved the legal basis for the investigative commission at the end of May.
The liberal conservative Tusk was the head of the Polish government from 2007 to 2014 and later the president of the EU. The PiS government accuses him of having concluded unfavorable gas contracts with Russia. Tusk is considered the biggest political opponent of PiS boss Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
Those affected face a ten-year ban from office
The nine-member body is to judge without a judicial basis whether people in Poland made decisions under “Russian influence” between 2007 and 2022 that harmed the country’s security. If convicted, those affected face a ten-year ban from public office.
In addition to the EU Commission, the German government and the USA had also expressed concern. As a result, President Andrzej Duda had already proposed changes. In the new version, the body is only supposed to determine “that a person who has acted under Russian influence cannot guarantee that the public interest is properly fulfilled”.
Infringement proceedings can result in a complaint before the European Court of Justice and a fine. The EU Commission wants to send a letter to Poland with the allegations on Thursday. Warsaw then has two months to respond.