First Brexit, Now Poexit

First Brexit, Now Poexit

In light of recent controversial legal reforms, Poland has two options: face the consequences, or get out.

Poland may soon follow Britain's footsteps in departing the European Union. The premise for a possible Poexit surfaced after the nation had received sanctions from the European Commission (the EU's main administrative entity) due to recent controversial judicial reforms that occurred in the land.

The European Commission has stated the rightwing government's proposed legal reforms would introduce a "clear risk of a serious breach in the rule of law". Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, also voiced his concern over Poland's legal route. Timmermans stated the 13 laws embraced by the legal system over the past two years had made it so the Polish government "can systematically politically interfere with the composition, powers, the administration and the functioning" of the judiciary.

Despite the European Commission's sanctions, Polish Newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza claims the ruling party views these dealings as an "opportunity to spread dissatisfaction with the EU among Poles," and is "calling the European Commission's bluff." Poland's leadership is allowed to have their opinion, nevertheless, many state a Poexit would be catastrophic for the nation. As a result of Poland's actions, the country may face Article 7 of the Union Treaty, an article that would impose a consequence severe in political nature: Poland would be effectively stripped of its voting rights. Even Rzeczpospolita, a Polish Newspaper that often displayed its favor of the current government, has stated the present state of affairs is a fast car "speeding towards a wall for months now and has finally spectacularly crashed into it," and further stated that invoking Article 7 against Warsaw is "the first stone that could start an avalanche of catastrophic consequences" for Poland.

According to German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, "after Brexit, a Poexit could be the final consequence." The newspaper further stated that "if the majority in Poland no longer wants to abide by the law, then the country has to leave the EU. After Brexit, the EU could soon experience its next big tragedy. The country is likely to be as divided as the British before the Brexit decision."

Another German Newspaper Die Welt chimed in and labeled the European Commission's potential activation of Article 7 as the "nuclear option." Die Welt further stated that "never before has the strongest weapon in the EU's treaty been activated. If this happens, it will become painfully clear that the EU is, in fact, almost defenseless if a member state persistently refuses to obey." Lawyer Thomas Giegerich also relayed his opinion to Die Welt, claiming that "If Poland had not already been an EU member, it would not have been accepted at the moment."

In support of Poexit is Hungary, which stated it would veto any efforts of the EU to halt Poland from voting in Brussels. Balazs Hidveghi, press chief of Hungary's ruling Fidesz party, relayed a message to Magyar Hirlap Newspaper that the European Commission's action against Poland is "proof of Brussels' efforts to punish the countries that oppose the settlement of migrants in Europe and the mandatory resettlement quota scheme." Hidveghi also firmly stated that "Hungary rejects the EU's way of using legal procedures for exerting political pressure."

So the question remains: will Poland's government face the consequences it has brought onto itself? Or will pressure from the European Union soon prompt a Poexit? For now, the world will have to wait in see. However, one thing is for certain: the possibility of a Poexit is becoming more and more of a reality by the second.

Cover Image Credit: Politico

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