After many attempts to reach an agreement to avoid it, at the end of April, the European Commission finally decided to launch for the first time a infringement proceedings against Poland by the legislation that has been approved in recent years and that as a whole is considered to serve to subject the judges to the will of the Executive, which means a serious attack against the principle of separation of powers. The reform, which came into force in February, “makes changes in the functioning of the judicial system, with serious risk of political control of the system,” stated the Commission’s communication before embarking on an extremely serious path within community practices. Then, the person in charge of Transparency and Values in the European Commission, the vice president Vera Jurova, already warned that “this virus cannot kill democracy”, referring to the absolute need to stop the spread of an accommodative vision of the principles on which the foundations of the European Union rest. Without them, without the permanent trust between all the governments of the member countries, neither judicial and police cooperation, nor the free movement of people nor the proper functioning of the single market would be possible.
Such is the concern in Brussels, that Commissioner Jurova had exceeded all traditional uses of prudence in community diplomacy and had come to speak of countries with a ‘sick democracy »in reference to Poland and Hungary. What the community executive feared most was that if it let this inflammation of nationalist and Eurosceptic populism pass in these two countries, this trend could easily spread to other countries in the area with weaker institutional structures such as Romania or Bulgaria, which posed a This scenario would endanger the very functioning of the European institutions and the prospect of a clear division within the EU.
Erosion of authority
According to European sources, what the Commission did not expect in any way was that such a problem would break out in one of the large countries with a long history as a member of the EU. Faced with the evident erosion of his authority signified by the fact that the Spanish government has decided to entangle in such a sensitive matter, the Commission could not remain passive. That is what explains the speed and forcefulness of a reaction like the one that occurred last week and that broke even the usual practice according to which the community executive never decides on a question until it is final.
The statement of the spokesman for the General Directorate of Justice warning the Spanish Government of its concern at the announcement of the reform on the law for the election of the General Council of the Judiciary tried to prevent what has already occurred: the Polish Government saying that it his is one persecution for ideological reasons and an injustice because the same rule does not apply to everyone. The breach that Pedro Sánchez has made to the Commission’s policy is of historical dimensions. Although if the socialist leader agrees to back down now, acknowledging his mistake, he could render the best possible service to the EU and the Commission.