Estonian MEPs believe threatening Poland will not help the union

European Union flag.
European Union flag. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Several MEPs believe that threats and punishments cannot help resolve the EU-Poland standoff, with communication needed instead.

Political observers say that a compromise is not easy to find in the standoff between the European Union and Poland. European editor of the Financial Times Ben Hall said that Brexit wounds have not healed yet, while EU leaders are not willing to see similarities between than and the current situation.

While the Polish government has said it does not wish to leave the EU, as suggested by Hall, former British PM David Cameron also initially wanted to renegotiate membership to limit the free movement of labor but was left empty-handed by the EU.

MEP and former Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (Social Democratic Party) said that the EU cannot stand for a situation where a member state questions EU law, while there is also no obvious solution in sight.

"The standoff has been described in the media as a staring competition, with both sides waiting for the other to blink first. It is uncharted waters in some ways because an EU member state questioning its core principles while not seeking to leave the union is unprecedented," Mikser said.

MEP Urmas Paet (Reform) said he hopes the European Commission and Poland will solve the tension through communication. Mutual threats and possible sanctions are a dead end.

"Looking at the nature of the EU, that 27 member states should pursue a common policy in many areas, this kind of piling on tensions leads nowhere. Looking at what is happening to Poland from the Belarus side, its hybrid attack of channeling immigrants into Poland, it is an example of Poland needing support from the rest of Europe. Of course, the EU makes decisions every day where it needs all member states to be on board, including Poland," Paet said.

Finnish MEP Ville Niinistö told Finnish public broadcaster Yle that the functioning of the common market, free movement of people and goods is based on member states having the same rules and that every country interpreting the rules as it sees fits would cause problems.

Niinistö said that what's at stake in Poland is the functioning of democracy, which is why the EU needs to support rule of law for democracy to endure.

Democracy is still alive in Poland and the majority of Poles trust the EU over their government. Therefore, the EU is a guarantor of democracy in Poland and that is what matters, Niinistö said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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