No grounds to end Article 7 procedure against Poland, Hungary - EU

ARIS OIKONOMOU/POOL/PAP/EPA

Germany's Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth announced on Tuesday that there were no grounds to end the Article 7 procedure against Poland and Hungary. Germany currently holds the rotating six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Roth made the statement after a meeting of European ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, during which EC Vice-President Viera Jourova and EC Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders had presented the situation in Poland and Hungary.

"Today, based on extensive reports from the Commission on the situation in Hungary and in Poland, we have established that the conditions to end the Article 7 procedure are not present and the Article 7 procedure will be continued," Roth told reporters.

According to unofficial information obtained by PAP, the EC had presented a critical report regarding the rule of law in Poland, with special emphasis on the situation in the judiciary and further changes announced by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro.

Polish European Minister Konrad Szymanski did not meet with reporters but, according to unofficial sources, he had told the meeting that such questions should be dealt with by the EU Court of Justice and that the Article 7 procedure should be terminated.

This will not happen since the EC has underlined that the procedure is an opportunity for dialogue with Polish authorities and that this has been approved by member countries.

Minister Roth also announced that the German presidency planned to hold a hearing of Poland and Hungary as part of the Article 7 procedure. The hearing of Poland is planned for December.