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The Law and Justice government in Poland stormed into office with rash plans to disable the Constitutional Court, muzzle the media, fire a wide swath of civil servants, politicize independent institutions and seize partisan control of the military. This has set off alarm bells in Brussels, where the European Commission has listed the Polish crisis on the agenda for its plenary meeting January 13 and the European Parliament has scheduled Poland for a debate January 19. Talk of “Article 7” is in the air.
Following Hungary’s moves to disable the checks and balances of its constitutional system, Poland is now the second state to have generated a threat to use Article 7. But precisely because Poland is following Hungary, the harshest sanctions available under Article 7 have already become nearly impossible to use. [continue reading here]