France’s Macron Wants Sanctions on Poland

France’s Macron Wants Sanctions on Poland
France’s Macron Wants Sanctions on Poland

France’s centrist presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron, said he would push for European Union sanctions against Poland and any other states accused of violating EU principles if he wins France’s presidency.

“In the next three months after I am elected, there will be a decision on Poland,” Macron told reporters of several regional French newspapers, including Ouest-France.

“You cannot have a European Union which argues over every single decimal place on the issue of budgets with each country, and which, when you have an EU member which acts like Poland or Hungary on issues linked to universities and learning, or refugees, or fundamental values, decides to do nothing,” Euronews reported.

Macron’s comment indicates the staunchly pro-EU candidate, who promises to reassert France’s leading position within the bloc and play an integral role in shaping its future, will actively enforce the bloc’s democratic liberal values at a time when EU leaders are faced with reshaping and shoring up solidarity within the union pre-Brexit.

EU leaders have clashed with Poland and Hungary in recent months over the issue of refugee quotas and Brussels has expressed its concerns over what it perceives as rising authoritarianism in both countries.

Both Poland and Hungary have blocked European Commission plans to resettle refugee and migrant arrivals throughout the bloc and on Friday, Hungary announced it had completed a second three-meter high fence along its border with Serbia.

In January, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party tightened its control on Polish media organizations that prompted demonstrations in Warsaw and condemnations by press freedom groups. The country is also working on regulations that would allow Warsaw to detain asylum seekers in border camps—a policy already in place in Hungary.

And this week, Brussels’ war of words with Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban escalated as it launched official infringement proceedings against Budapest over a controversial law governing universities that EU Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt called “paranoid”.

The EU Commission has stopped short of imposing sanctions on its own members for non-compliance. It’s a decision Macron said he is against.

“When the rights and values of the European Union are not respected, I want sanctions to be taken,” Macron said.

Macron’s message echoes that made by the European Commission earlier this month, which is considering fining member states for failing to reach their migrant quotas.

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