Poland refuses to read from the Eurocrats' script

by MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY

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Ryszard Legutko, a Polish political philosopher and member of the European Parliament, voiced his frustration with Brussels in late December as it gathered itself to start proceedings against his home country for undermining the rule of law. He complained of an “unprecedented obsession” with Poland among Eurocrats, even as the same turned a blind eye to what happened in Catalonia last year.

It is hard not to have some sympathy with him. Just before Christmas, the European Commission decided to go after the elected government of Poland, invoking Article Seven of the Lisbon Treaty, which if followed all the way through would strip Poland of its voting rights within the European Union. The EU has never done this before. Even when it complained about 2011 reforms in Hungary, to which the current reforms in Poland are often compared, it made no move to strip that country of its voting rights. It has taken no concrete action against EU candidate Turkey, despite the Erdogan regime’s much more worrisome descent into authoritarianism.

Europe’s leaders were supposedly invoking Article Seven for high-minded reasons, but during the session of European Parliament, Legutko found himself beating back rhetorical taunts that his post-Communist society was selfishly using the European Union as a “milk-cow” and disregarding the rules.

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