EU horrified with Poland's illiberal trends, but Croatia is not worried

The European Commission has proposed to the European Council Wednesday the activation of Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty for violating the rule of law in Poland, which is the first move of this "nuclear option" to a European member, the ultimate outcome of which being the denial of voting rights in Poland.

The conclusion that there is "a clear risk of serious violations of the rule of law in Poland" is the result of nearly two years of attempts by Brussels to bring the European member back to the path of the rule of law through dialogue.

What does the Commission's conclusions say?

Judicial reforms in Poland have led the judiciary under the political control of the ruling majority. In the period of two years since the ruling Justice and Justice Party, the Polish authorities have amended more than 13 laws, affecting the entire judicial system - from the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to the lower courts, the Polish National Judicial Council, the Prosecutor's Office and judicial school. The common pattern is the imposition of the power of executive and legislative power over the judicial, ie political influence on the composition, powers, management and functioning of the judiciary, is stated in the explanation why Poland was found under EU law.

Due to the attack on the Constitutional Court immediately after the assumption of authority, in January 2016 the European Commission launched a formal dialogue mechanism with the new Polish authorities, in which it issued several opinions and recommendations, exchanged more than 25 official letters with the Polish authorities and held numerous meetings in Warsaw and Brussels, but without results. Dialogue took place mainly during the initial 2016, following the Polish Constitutional Court strike, that during 2017, the year in which Poland embarked on a comprehensive "judicial reform", the appeal of the Commission and the Council twice met on Poland with the same Conclusion on the "necessity of dialogue" - were mostly ignored.

And in this decision on the first activation of Article 7, the Polish authorities are offered a recipe for withdrawal from the current unfavorable situation. There is a new recommendation, which states that Poland must take three months to change its opinion: seeking to withdraw the new legal provisions relating to the work of the Supreme Court, the National Judicial Council, the Courts Law and the Return of Independence Constitutional Court.

The Polish government, in its first reactions to the decision  , further emphasizes that this "judicial reform" was necessary, that is, it continues its "struggle against the remnants of communism".

They probably play on the announcement by the Hungarian government that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will keep what he says from the first day - that he will not raise his hand when the Council confirms this decision of the Commission. The decision to activate Article 7 to the Council must be adopted - unanimously.

A Million Penalty Television for Reporting with Protests

How does the Commission  today look like a Polish justice system?

The Constitutional Court is unable to do its job and can not judge the laws regarding the electoral process, media, public services, non-governmental organizations. The Constitutional Court is constituted outside the usual practices - three judges have failed to take over the job they are appointed for, and the other three judges without a legal mandate sit in positions. The president of that court was appointed unlawfully, and some decisions of the Court of Justice have not been announced.

Due to changes to the legal provisions on the Supreme Court, 40 percent of existing judges will have to be forced to retire, with the president of the state having the discretion to determine who will not be affected. The president of the state appoints all members of the Supreme Court at the proposal of the National Judicial Council, where the politically appointed staffs sit. This, the Commission believes, will have consequences in everyday life of citizens, as well as in validating election results. As an example, the European Commission reminds of a sentence recently received by the TVN24 channel because of reports of anti-government protestsowned by American TV TVN SA. The "independent" media regulator (led by a person who came straight from the Law and Justice) gave them a globe of 1.5 million zlotys (about 2.7 million kunas), arguing that they "propagated illegal activities and encouraged threats that threaten security" . They reported, in fact, a protest without a proper context like that of a state-run television that reportedly denounced the revolt "designed to bring Islamic immigrants to Poland" and protesters as "pedophile advocates". The question of whether the appeal of this commercial channel may result in any result with the defendant's justice.

The retirement age retirement provision will also lead to shifts in lower courts. The Commission does not like the new powers of the justice minister who can, by a discretionary decision, name and dismiss all the presidents of the courts. According to the Commission's information, 24 presidents of the court have already been dismissed by the discretionary provisions, and 32 new presidents have been appointed in the same way.

Government on behalf of the majority

The Right Bank of Poland Right and Justice did not reach the end of 2015 with such a great majority as the 2010 Hungarian Fidesz won by which it was obviously due. The two-thirds majority in his second coming to power allowed Victor Orban to change the constitution and thus significantly change the political system. With the amendments to the Constitution, Orban's authority has declared a large number of laws to organic laws, for which the change is not enough for the overwhelming majority, thus cementing for a long time the return to the old. Changes to the Constitution included the introduction of conservative provisions such as defining marriage exclusively as a community of men and women.

Viktor Orban, who once considered a modern European politician,  announced in a speech at the Summer University and Student Camp in Balvanyos in July 2014, just after the re-conquest of the government, what will be his new mandate: "The new state we create from Hungary is an orberal , a non-celestial state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism, such as freedom, and I could add some, but it does not place that ideology on the central place of the state organization, but instead includes a different, special, national approach. "

The Polish Party of Justice and Justice failed to conquer such a strong mandate, but on the basis of the barely overwhelming majority, it embarked on equally far-reaching changes in Hungary's departure. Only, based on the finished Hungarian recipes, much faster. The basic understanding of the advocates of the orberal democracy is that the majority won in the elections allows autocratic rule in which they do not have to take any account of minorities - from national to sexual minorities, that is to say that the majority make it possible to coincide institutions in their own right and thus actually jeopardize the independence of the basic pillars democracy.

In Poland, they were not able to change the Constitution, but immediately set aside the Constitutional Court in order not to be able to ascertain the unconstitutionality of the laws they have made. Immediately upon coming to power, they took the shift in public media to control how they would report changes.

"Propaganda on state television is exactly the same as in communism and we can already notice that a completely different picture of society has those citizens who watch the state television and those who do not watch it," said Katarzyna Batko Toluć from Poland's NGO Sieć Obywatelska Watchdog Polska at the international conference "Neliberal Democracy: Europe Between Democracy and Autocracy", which was recently held in Zagreb.

Tragedy in Smolensk

Neliberal democracies are inherently a reversal of their own history and culture, and nationalism is a powerful platform for mobilization on the basis of identity-based "recognition". In Poland this is the repolonization or return of Poland to the Poles, which is referred to as the main explanation of new policies - from taking the media to the nationalization of the economy. Such an understanding of the nation is closely related to Catholicism and traditional values, with a very pronounced role of family and traditional gender roles. The Polish government has tried to ban abortion even in the case of rape and the health risk of a woman or child, to impose a prison sentence for those who conduct it and investigate in the event of spontaneous miscarriage. But the adoption of such a law prevented mass protest in the streets,

In addition to criminal responsibility for insulting state symbols, senior officials and churches, a law has been passed for a term of up to three years in prison for anyone who mentions Poland's participation in the Holocaust.

The main myth about which Polish society is currently gathering is a tragedy in Smolensk.  Seven years ago in the plane crash in western Russia, then President Lech Kaczynski died with his wife and another 80 senior state and military officials. His twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is head of Justice and Justice, but has no formal role in the government, exploits this tragedy for mobilizing the Polish people against Russia and the Civic Platform, a party that has recently ruled Poland. Every ninth of a month, given the tragedy that occurred on April 10, a commemoration is held in front of the Presidential Palace, where a promise is made that the responsible person will be brought to justice.

For national mobilization in Poland, as well as Hungary, there is a fear of different people, first of all refugees and migrants (the Visegrad Group states, are against European quotas for the distribution of refugees by all EU members), but also the fear of Germany, Russia, ideology.

Poland before the coming of Justice and Justice into the power of slovenia as a country of very successful economy that did not even feel the recession that other EU members had experienced. The economy is still successful and it is hiding a large part of the support that this autocratic power gains in the people. Another reason is the implementation of populist measures promised before the election, which help the poorest sections of the population, explains Katarzyna Batko Toluć. Families each month receive over € 100 for each child, and this significantly helps the budget of the poor. The party also went on to face corruption that was at the time of the Civil Platform, and these investigations were extensively monitored by state media. However, what is the main reason for this kind of turnaround is the inevitable inevitable opposition.

Orban will win again

It is similar in Hungary, which is expected to re-win Fides in the elections next year. It should be noted that Poland is facing the launch of Article 7. above all because the right-wing populist Right and Justice is not considered a part of a large European family. In the European Parliament, she acts in a group of European Conservatives and Reformists (together with Ruž Tomašić) and not in the European People's Party. Fellowship with the fugitives, on the other hand, is the main reason why he has conducted dialogue with Viktor Orbán, but no real "nuclear option" procedure has ever been initiated.

"Today half of the voters will be nominated by Fidesz, and the other half will be divided into the far right and the rest," explains Tamas Boros of the Policy Solutions Institute.

Orban is popular because it tries to satisfy the majority, not to defend the minority. It is up to the fears of most, explains Boros. However, the main reason for its success is good economic results - GDP and wage growth and debt is declining. What is in the whole situation ironically is that GDP growth is largely based on the good use of European funds, at the same time as Orban loudly talks against the EU. The rest is growing in foreign capital and multinationals.

"Orban plays wisely. As he is in the country as an enemy of Germany, he plays in economics according to the rules prescribed by Angela Merkel and this is the most important factor in his success, "Boros explains.

Another factor is the media that are either under the control of Fides or belong to the oligarchs that are in good relationship with the Orb, so Orban's critics can not even hear.

The third factor of success he sees in the selective application of the law. While Orban's friends are exempted, those who do not belong to that circle are punished drastically, so recently an opposition party was punished for violating the rules of the campaign, which no one adheres to, so much that they may not be able to vote.

As the fourth factor, he expressed fears of the enemy in which migrants were first, followed by George Soros and non-governmental organizations. Most of the Hungarians agree with the wire at the borders, while billing with non-governmental organizations is not too much interest. Migrants will announce Boros as the main topic of the election campaign because it is a winning formula for Orban.

Plenkovic: Orban is a friend of Croatia

How does Croatia look at it all? The HDZ deputies, together with Marijan Petir, have voted in the European Parliament  against a resolution that has twice been condemned by Poland, and so the EP puts it in front of the European Commission in launching a procedure against Poland. HDZ's deputies voted against the will of the fugitives, together with the Hungarian Fidesz and the Euro-deputies from the extreme right-wing groups, that the second day, probably after pressure from Zagreb, all but Ivica Tolić's voice changed to "restrained", explaining their disagreement with Poland's the resolution also advocates the reproductive rights of women.

Asked about this classification with Poland, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the press conference held this Monday in the European House laconically stated that "only one vote" remained against the resolution. Asked for further explanation of the state of democracy in Poland and Hungary and why Croatia needs to flirt with the Visegrad group, the prime minister said that there is "no flirtation in the dialogue we are leading with Hungary or Poland."

"Keep in mind that Viktor Orban presided over the 2011 EU Council at the time our negotiations were over. His role then, and I know it well because I was the Secretary of State for European Affairs, was crucial, crucial. Do you know who presided after Orban? Poland, and Donald Tusk, who is now chairing the European Council. Now that power is in the hands of options that are not my political family - that is not the EPP, it is not a Civic Platform that is part of my political party, that's something else, "Plenkovic said, saying he did not know how to finish it with Poland and the Commission but that he would like both countries to "harmonize with the" judicial problems or some other aspects "at European level as Croatia did when it came to the EU.

When the Prime Minister has already mentioned Tuska, we will conclude with his statement after the Commission has proposed the initiation of proceedings against Poland.

Tusk argued  that "Poland is now emerging as a disintegrating force in this part of Europe" and that "it believes it is important to break this devastation of Polish reputation". It did not save them like our prime minister.