Commission on “Russian influence”: Brussels launches infringement proceedings against Poland

The tone is rising between Brussels and Warsaw. The European Commission announced on Wednesday 7 June that it had launched infringement proceedings against Poland over the establishment of a controversial commission of inquiry into “Russian influence”, suspected of targeting the opposition. This approach can lead to a referral to European justice. Brussels will send a letter of formal notice to the Polish authorities on Thursday.

“Middle School (of the commissioners) has decided to launch an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice” to the Polish authorities, said EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. Brussels took this decision, even though Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on June 2 the creation of an amendment to partially modify this special commission.

Election scheduled for fall

While the legislative elections are scheduled for the fall, this commission of inquiry created by Warsaw is accused of targeting Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party. The former Polish Prime Minister and former President of the European Council is the pet peeve of the conservative populist party in power.

The European Commission and the United States had already expressed their “concern” last week about the creation of this instance. The US State Department estimated that she “could be misused to interfere with free and fair elections in Poland”.

The European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders had sent a letter to the Polish government expressing his concerns at seeing a “administrative body capable of preventing individuals from acceding to official functions”.

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