“Poland and Hungary: a puzzle for Europe?” civil society and media, not just EU Treaty, on top Belgian radio, La Première
November 17, 2017
[Shutterstock] CRACOW, POLAND – JULY 23, 2017: People protest against violation the constitutional law in Poland. Defense of the triad of division of power and independence of the highest court in Poland.
On November 15th, on the radio show CQFD broadcasted on La Première, I debated with Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (@bruxelles2) on this topical issue: “Pologne et Hongrie: casse-tête pour l’Europe?”, summarized below. I was invited as a member of the initiative Stand up for Europe, and as founder of the EURACTIV media network.
This question is highly relevant since the European Parliament voted that same day a resolution on Poland’s rule of law issues. Indeed, the European Parliament suggests the formal process, which can result in suspending Poland’s voting rights.
Let’s be optimistic for a minute. The situation is serious but not dramatic; we can hope for an upswing in the run-up to the 2019 European Parliament’s elections. Europe brings hope in Central Europe, and the wheel can easily turn toward a pro-European path like it did in France. During the #MarchforEurope2017 movement, demonstrations for the EU anniversary were bigger in Warsaw and in London than in Rome. EU institutions have a real but limited influence. We also need to sustain civil society and press freedom in Poland and in Hungary.
To advocate effectively for the rule of law, the independence of justice, press freedom and democracy, we need to support NGOs. In the run-up to the 2019 European Parliament elections, emerging movements could play a role such as Stand Up for Europe, Momentum in Hungary, Progressive Slovakia, and KOD in Poland. Regarding media independence, Gazeta Wyborcsza (a media partner of EURACTIV) in Poland, deserves support from Western Europe.