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2021.10.21 16:39

EU should not punish Poland, says Lithuanian FM

BNS2021.10.21 16:39

Possible EU sanctions against Poland in the rule-of-law row could lead to the country drifting away from the bloc, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Thursday. 

"A nominally easy solution is to punish Poland for its court's decision," the minister told the Žinių Radijas radio.

"On the other hand, everybody understands what the cost of the punishment is: even stronger anti-European sentiment, possibly even some kind of separation of the state, perhaps not Brexit, but some legal distancing from the European Community," he said.

Landsbergis admitted, however, that the bloc's failure to respond to the situation would "create a precedent where states become non-committed to the basic treaty of the European Union".

"Naturally, the European Commission should pay great attention to this. I hope that through mediation and the search for some solutions, the integrity of the European Union will be preserved, but also that some way will be found for the future," he added.

Read more: Brussels beats Warsaw like a child, Polish president says in Lithuania

Landsbergis said that while he supports the path of mediation, he disagrees with President Gitanas Nausėda who has said that Vilnius could take on the role of a mediator, as Lithuania would be seen as biased because of its close ties with the neighbour.

The most pessimistic scenario could be Poland's withdrawal from the bloc, which would end in "very sad things for both the EU and Poland", Landsbergis said, adding that a solution could be found "perhaps by changing the law, perhaps by turning to the courts again".

Poland's Constitutional Tribunal earlier this month challenged the primacy of EU law by ruling that several articles in the EU treaties are "incompatible" with the Polish constitution.

The court also warned EU institutions not to act "beyond the scope of their competences" by interfering with Poland's judicial reforms.

Brussels warned ahead of the ruling that the case could have "consequences" for the EU's yet to be approved pandemic recovery payments to Poland.

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