The fragrant disregard of the rule of law by the Polish government is to be voted on in a resolution by MEPs in Brussels today, as pressure mounts on the EU Council to punish Warsaw’s persistent violations of fundamental values over the past two-and-a-half years. MEPs must give consent before the Council can take further action.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli stressed the need for a strong message on the issue from Parliament:

“Some will argue that resorting to Article 7.1 of the EU Treaty is pointless; it’s merely paying lip service because at the end, there will be no unanimity in the Council to put forward its implementation.”

“For my part, I think the opposite is true. Even if the Parliament runs the risk of exposing its own powerlessness, it still has a duty to raise its voice when serious violations of Article 2 have been perpetrated by a member state.”

“It was Václav Havel who once spoke of the power of the powerless. And it is this very power that we want to exercise as a warning, not only to the Polish government but all others who could dismantle the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the defence of human rights,” she added.