In Eastern Europe the Foundations of the European Union in danger

What happened in Poland, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, with support from Hungary, challenging several provisions of the European Union Treaty, is something which should worry us very much.

The last few days Poland’s position has been a matter of serious discussions and heated debates. Most MEPs condemned the contentious ruling of 7 October by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, which states that cornerstone provisions of the Treaty on the EU (Art. 1 and 19) are unconstitutional under Polish law. We may not forget that since 1954 there has been discussed a lot about how we in this region could come to the United States of Europe.

Anže Logar agreed that:

In EU architecture, primacy of EU law is the way to guarantee the equal equality of member state before the treaties and to ensure that all union citizens enjoy the same rights. Without primacy, the application of EU law would vary from one member to another.

This will destroy the level playing field in single market. It is also precondition for daily interaction and for smoothly resolving disputes. It is ultimately the basis for our living together in a common European home. The presidency is committed to bringing forward exchanges in a positive and constructive atmosphere on rule of law and related issues.

The inhabitants from the European Union expect that all over the EU would apply the same basic rules of freedom rights.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission remembered the Polish representatives:

Almost 40 years ago, in December 1981, the communist regime in Poland imposed martial law.

Many members of Solidarnosc, the independent trade union of other groups, were put in jail simply because they stood up for their rights. The people of Poland wanted democracy. Like millions of other Europeans, from Budapest to Tallinn to East Berlin. They wanted the freedom to choose their government.

They wanted free speech and free media. They wanted an end to corruption, and they wanted independent courts to protect their rights. The people of Central and Eastern Europe wanted to join the European family of free people, a strong community of values and democracy.

The majority of citizens of the European Union are convinced that this is what Europe should all be about and should stand for. We can also see a majority of the Polish people are not happy at all with the latest developments and restrictions imposed by their government in the last few years. Very bad seems to be the direction the Polish government wants to go and creating again Stasi terror. None of the citizens wants to go back to the Soviet zone of occupation after World War II and have people who snitch on others and report them to the state apparatus so that they can be arrested and tried. For many, it is also not acceptable that people for whatever reason would be denied access to pubs or other public domains.

Poles rebelled several times against the partitioners and had many uprisings. By 1989, thanks to several workers and intellectuals of the communist party, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza or Polish United Workers’ Party had triumphed in Poland’s first partially free and democratic parliamentary elections since the end of the Second World War. Amidst the ongoing political and economic crises, the Solidarity movement Solidarność emerged as a major anti-bureaucratic social movement that pursued social change and brought the transition to liberal capitalism in the 1990s. Currently, Solidarity has little influence on modern Polish politics. Today there seems less interest in solidarity, a lot of people have been caught in the trap of populists and right-wing politicians who want the people to believe the refugees entering their country would undermine their gained prosperity.

The Polish Tribunal now challenging several provisions of the European Union Treaty, is unacceptable and bringing certain groups in Poland in danger, but also creating a precedent for neighbouring countries.

It are those Human Rights that we should take care of. But we should also be concerned about the ridiculous remark of Mateusz Morawiecki who accused Brussels of putting a

“gun to our head”

In response to sanctions from the EU, Morawiecki has threatened to use Poland’s national veto to block key areas of EU decision-making.

It is good to notice the MEP’s let themselves not be intimidated by the language of the Polish prime minister. They agreed to delay approval of Poland’s €36 billion in EU pandemic recovery funding amid threats to delay an additional €21 billion in funds unless the Polish government backs down in a battle over the supremacy of the European Court of Justice.

Poland is now feeling the full force of the EU Commission’s wrath for daring to challenge the Court of Justice of the European Union’s role as the ultimate arbiter of law within the bloc.

Human rights in Poland are not always upheld in practice. From 1993 to 2019, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Poland violated human rights in 989 cases. In 2021, ILGA-Europe ranked Poland lowest in the European Union for protection of LGBT rights for the second year in a row. {Human rights in Poland – Wikipedia}

In present Poland we cannot accept that there are again criminal defamation penalties; violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex persons; and crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of ethnic minorities.

Normally in the constitutional law of Poland there is the principle of equality between men and women embedded, however, the general equality law – the Act on the implementation of some regulations of the European Union regarding equal treatment does not prohibit discrimination based on gender in higher education. Generally, the country wants to exclude all ‘different people’ from the rights to be part of the Polish people. For the present government, there is no place in their society for LGBT people, neither for people who preach that Jesus is not God or want to convert people from the Catholic faith.

In October 2020, the Polish government passed a near-ban on accessing abortion, a move that critics say violates the human rights of women, puts lives at risk, and reinforces gender inequality in the country. Concerning gender inequality the government making it clear that it would be best that women stay at home caring for the family, violates the freedom of women to work outside the home.

Women protest in Warsaw, photo by Grzegorz Żukowski via Flickr

Since the fall of communism, rights and status for women have been systematically reduced, despite them being an important driving force behind the fall. Notably, women’s reproductive rights were severely reduced in 1993.

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala says:

As in any country where it has a strong influence over public life, the Catholic Church in Poland worked to maintain gender inequality and hetero-normativity. But only right-wing populism has allowed the Church to wage an open war on non-traditional women who challenge gender hierarchy. While this shift is a worldwide phenomenon, Poland is susceptible because of the close involvement of the Catholic Church in state institutions since 1989. Populists got to power by fighting ‘gender’ and ‘LGBTIQ ideology’, a tortuous mental construction created to instigate fear of foreign ideological invasion and a ‘disease’.

Poland should be aware that the abortion ban too, is a violation of the right to privacy, the right to health, dignity and self-determination. It constitutes a differential treatment because of group membership – which is the definition of discrimination. These are basic human rights that are being violated.

As a member of the EU, Poland is obliged to respect and protect those human rights, but it’s depriving half its citizens of them. That is why the EU has to be firm in its answers and reaction, having to protect all its citizens and protecting the human rights and values of the European Union in general.

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Preceding

Rights of Polish people in danger

Need of a sovereign decision about sovereign decisions by sovereign member states

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Related

  1. EU urge commission to act against pushbacks.
  2. Updated: Germany’s Merkel says EU needs to reach agreement on Poland, migration
  3. Is the rule of law conflict draining energy out of the EU?
  4. Poland won’t bow to EU ‘blackmail’ but seek to fix rows – PM
  5. Crumbling European solidarity or yet another day at the office?
  6. ‘We are afraid’: Polish queer families feel no safer since the repealing of ‘LGBT-free zones’
  7. European Parliament calls for sanctions on Poland
  8. EU leaders lambast Poland over its challenge to union

Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

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