by Suhani Narayan
Poland is known for committing unethical atrocities, especially in terms of police brutality and locking up their citizens when they speak against their government.The United States has been looking for setting a precedent of stopping authoritarian regimes and attempting to prevent other countries from following Poland’s lead, and urging the EU to pass Article 7 has been one of them.
Article 7 allows the EU to suspend any given amount of rights from any European Union country. The EU created this Article in hopes to provide incentive for certain issues: the hope in this case is to incentivize Poland to stop committing these human rights violations. However, there are problems with stopping Poland to begin with. First, if the United States does want to stop authoritarian regimes, there is a problem starting with Poland. Poland is essentially out of the United States’ control; this is a problem to be handled by the EU government.
While we may want to ‘set a precedent’, that within itself is problematic because of our direct relations with countries like Saudi Arabia and China. Saudi Arabia and China are both notorious for mistreatment of their citizens and a larger magnitude of unethical atrocities. Rather than starting there, we should start with relations that we have direct control over. Second, an arguably more pressing issue, Article 7 requires unanimous EU support. This is already impossible. Hungary has stated that they will support Poland, and nothing stops other EU countries from supporting Hungary, leading to a domino effect that will ultimately fail Article 7. Third, Poland is a key player in NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Not only have they been quite religiously following their policies, Poland is willing to maintain good relations with the United States by keeping up with NATO rules. That is another fact that the EU has overlooked; the United States can intervene without increasing tensions through NATO and their influence in the present.
Poland has committed unethical atrocities. This is an established fact. However, in the status quo, the United States cannot be involved and Article 7 getting passed is an impossible goal. This is an ultimate waste of time and has virtually no effect on Poland, and it might even increase tensions amongst EU countries and international relations. The EU needs to find a way to solve their problem with Poland without complicating them through multilateral agreements: but now isn’t the time to take action.