No grounds to end Article 7 procedure against Poland, Hungary: EU

Following the meeting of European ministers in Brussels, where the situation in Poland and Hungary was one of the topics of discussion, Germany's Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth announced that there were no grounds to end the Article 7 procedure against the above mentioned countries.

"Today, based on extensive reports from the Commission on the situation in Hungary and in Poland, we have established that the conditions to end the Article 7 procedure are not present and the Article 7 procedure will be continued," said Mr Roth, whose country currently presides over the Council of the European Union.

According to unofficial information obtained by the Polish Press Agency, the European Commission presented a critical report regarding the rule of law in Poland, with special emphasis on the situation in the judiciary and further changes announced by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro. The EC has underlined that the procedure is an opportunity for dialogue with Polish authorities and that this has been approved by member countries.

Minister Roth also announced that the German presidency planned to hold a hearing regarding Poland and Hungary as part of the Article 7 procedure, which is planned for December.

Hungary backs Polish stance

A position of solidarity with Poland regarding the EP resolution was adopted on Tuesday by the European Affairs Committee of the Hungarian parliament.

Richard Hoerscik, the commission’s head, assessed that the EP adopted a resolution that lacks objectivity and contained false claims. According to him, it is a politically motivated document which is a form of blackmail against Poland.

He said the EP has exceeded its authority and wants to interfere in matters that, according to the EU treaty, do not belong to its scope of competence.

The commission also drew attention to the close commonality of the fate of both nations, and indicated that not only the governments of two countries cooperate with each other in European forums, but so do their parliaments and European affairs committees. One of the appeals made by the commission included a call on the Hungarian government to defend Poland at the sessions of the European Council and to seek the closure of the Art. 7 procedure.

The MEP of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz, Balazs Hidveghi, stressed that defending Poland is important, because “no one can tell Central European nations what to think about family or marriage.

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution according to which the rule of law in Poland is constantly deteriorating. Parliament also deplores the "mass arrests of 48 LGBT activists". In the document, which is non-binding, the EP expresses concern about the legislative and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary and the condition of fundamental rights in Poland.