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Polish FM: This is Not the EU Poles Voted to Join

  • Associated Press

FILE - A European flag reflects in a building of the EU headquarters in Brussels.

FILE - A European flag reflects in a building of the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Poland's foreign minister on Monday accused the European Union's leaders of taking steps which go beyond the union's rules and said this is not the union his nation wanted to join.

Witold Waszczykowski was speaking in Brussels ahead of an opinion — expected to be critical — that the EU's executive Commission is to issue concerning Poland's rule of law and a constitutional conflict.

Poland's conservative government, in power since November and making sweeping changes to the state and social life, has taken steps to curb the Constitutional Tribunal, a top court that can act as a check on government's actions. The steps have paralyzed the court and led the EU Commission to implement the "rule of law'' procedure that is aimed at protecting EU values including respect for law, democracy and human rights.

The Commission gave Poland until Monday to find a solution and threatened sanctions, that could even lead to Poland losing its EU voting rights. Before the election of the current right-wing government, Poland had been one of the EU's most enthusiastic members.

Waszczykowski said that threatening sanctions goes beyond the EU's fundamental treaties and should not be applied.

"This is not the union, not the kind of membership that we have agreed to, this is not the kind of referendum that the Poles took part in,'' he said.

Last week, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said Poland will not bow to EU's ultimatum, and the lawmakers adopted a resolution calling on the government to "counter any action taken against Poland's sovereignty.''