West losing battle over ‘Putinization’ of Europe?


European Union officials are seeking to calm an escalating fight with Poland after its new government made moves some of its partners fear will lead to tighter political control over the Polish media and judiciary, The Wall Street Journal reports:

On Wednesday, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, will look at possible sanctions against Poland, but it will steer clear from any formal steps, said three officials familiar with the talks. …..Malgorzata Szuleka from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, a Warsaw-based, pro-democracy think tank, welcomed the concern in Brussels about developments in the bloc’s sixth-largest economy.

“The constitutional crisis in Poland is quite serious and requires international attention, it is important that it’s on the EU radar,” she said.

“In regaining autonomy with the Soviet collapse, the Central Europeans first reached gratefully for Europe and its panoply of rights,” says John Lloyd, Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. “Now, they recoil from its responsibilities. Instead, they seek a patriotic spirit impatient of liberal opposition and what they see as immoral or alarming innovation from abroad, such as gay rights.”

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, a German centre-left politician, accused the ruling PiS party of putting the interests of party before country, the BBC adds.

It was a “dangerous Putinization of European politics,” he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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