Despite recent tensions between the European Union and the Polish government, a new survey has indicated that support among Poles for remaining in the union has reached a record high. The data showed that 92% supported remaining in the EU, and a minority of just 8% said they’d be in favour of leaving.
The European Commission has recently recommended that Article 7.1 of the EU treaty should be invoked against Poland amid fears of the rise of the nationalist movement and fears the country is heading towards authoritarianism. PM Mateusz Morawiecki has been taking part in negotiations with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Commission, to discuss the proposed sanctions which follow two years of laws that threaten the fairness of the judicial system in the country.
The next step the EU intends to take in the case is to pass it to the EU heads of states to vote on the matter, which is required to trigger the article 7 procedure. This move is expected to be taken in March at the European Council meeting, and it would require the backing of four fifths of council members as well as the approval of the European Parliament.
The motion is expected warn the Commission that “there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values” in Poland, including major concerns over rule of law and the independence of the judiciary system in the country. The Commission has also indicated that if these breaches continue they will have no choice but to call a second vote under Article 7.2 of the treaty due to a “serious and persistent breach”, which would result in Poland’s EU voting rights being removed.
The EU has noted however, that if a second vote took place it would be a lot more difficult to pass as it requires a unanimous result rather than just a majority. Viktor Orban, Hungarian prime minister who shares similar right-wing authoritarian views, has already said that he would oppose the vote, which would result in it not being approved.
However, the general opinion in Poland still seems to be a positive one and the polls show that citizens are still keen to take part in further integration with the EU – although the figures have also shown that three quarters of Poles would be opposed to joining the single currency. The EU project as a whole has always been popular in Poland. The lowest level of support seen was in 2001, but will still above 50%, and since then the level of support has continued to increase – reaching an all time high last year.
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