Donald Tusk’s Twitterbeef with Poland

The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, recently took to Twitter to criticise the Law and Justice Party (PiS), the governing party of Poland. In response to recent diplomatic disputes with Ukraine, and the PiS’s attempt to take political control over the appointment of judges, he tweeted: ‘Alarm! Severe dispute with Ukraine, isolation within the European Union, departure from the rule of law and judicial independence… Is this a Law and Justice strategy or a Kremlin plan? Too similar to sleep peacefully.’

Tusk’s tweet read like a father trying to scare his misbehaving children into acting straight. It was also misleading. Tusk, a former PM of Poland, seems to have forgotten that Poland isn’t exactly best mates with Russia. Recent disputes between the two – over plans to demolish Soviet memorials and Poland’s criticism of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea – make a pact seem unlikely.

This Twitter slanging match reflects the particularly condescending and anti-democratic approach the EU is taking to Poland and other member states to the East. The European Commission recently attempted to bring legal action against Poland over the PiS’s plans to give greater power to politicians to appoint and remove judges. The Commission threatened to invoke Article 7, which, with the agreement of the remaining EU member states, would strip Poland of its voting rights within the EU. Hungary, which is in its own dispute with Brussels over migrant quotas, showed solidarity with Poland.

Poland has its own political problems. But they’re for its people to sort out. And in any case, the idea that Poland is about to fall to authoritarian rule is ridiculous. Polish president Andrzej Duda vetoed two of the three controversial judicial reform bills put forward by the PiS, and it doesn’t have a big enough parliamentary majority to overturn those vetoes. The interventions of Brussels bureaucrats into Poland’s domestic affairs is an insult to Polish voters, and will only push them further away from the EU.

Jacob Sünd is a writer based in Canada.

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