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Visegrad castle, example to the eponymous EU group

Poland and Hungary join hands against EU meddling

Poland and Hungary are no longer subservient members of the EU.

Published: March 1, 2017, 10:14 am

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    After Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in October 2015, the Polish parliament passed a law allowing the government to appoint the judges to the high court. Previously the liberal Civic Platform party had appointed judges.

    Last December, President Andrzej Duda appointed a candidate backed by PiS as the new head of the constitutional court, but the European Commission has said it considered the procedure “fundamentally flawed as regards the rule of law”. The Commission has set the Polish government a deadline to implement measures to protect the powers of the constitutional court.

    Poland dismissed their demands. The Polish foreign ministry has said that the appointment of a new head at Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal late last year and new rules had created “the right conditions for the normal functioning” of the court.

    Warsaw however does no longer risk being stripped of its voting rights in the bloc, because such a move requires unanimity, and Hungary has indicated that it would not support sanctions against Poland.

    It is not the first time that the two countries have joined hands. In 2015, Poland and Hungary stopped an EU ministerial agreement that would have forced all EU countries to honor same-sex “marriages” wherever they were contracted in the European Union.

    They opposed it on the grounds that this would violate their sovereign rights to legislate marriage and family matters.

    The Visegrad group – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – also openly opposes the EU migration policy

    After an extraordinary conference of the groups prime ministers in February 2016, a joint statement was issued reasserting the members’ insistence on “more effective protection” of the EU’s external borders to “stem the migratory flow”.

    They reaffirmed opposition to a quota system for resettling refugees through the EU.

    The group possesses enough significant growth and influence to move ahead as a counter force. In particular, the combined GDP of the group makes it the world’s 15th largest economy, and the number of its representatives in the European Parliament is twice as large as the number of representatives of France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

    Poland is working to extend its influence beyond the Visegrad Group by improving relations with Romania and Slovakia – EU member states also opposing the bloc’s asylum seekers’ relocation plans imposed by Germany.

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