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Controversy over four Polish MEPs having their immunity lifted by the European Parliament

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Poland/EU – On November 9, the European Parliament decided to lift the parliamentary immunity of four Polish MEPs from the Law and Justice (PiS) delegation to the European Parliament’s European Reformist and Conservatives group: Beata Mazurek and Tomasz Poręba, who belong to PiS, alongside Beata Kempa and Patryk Jaki, who belong to Sovereign Poland, a small party allied with PiS. The reason given for this was that they had shared and “liked” an advertisement from the 2018 PiS local election campaign on their social networks, which is quite unprecedented.

“They want to silence all critics of the migration pact”

One of the MEPs involved, Patryk Jaki, was interviewed by wPolityce and he summed up the situation with the following words:

We are facing three years in prison for liking an official spot that showed actual clips of migrant aggression.

This is considered hate speech. But that is not the real issue here. […] We in the European Parliament are among the harshest critics of the new treaty, which is supposed to create a new European state. […] This European state is one big utopia, but to maintain it, we need censorship and restrictions on freedoms to silence those who say aloud what it implies. […] The foundation of this future state will be increased immigration and the migration pact.

They know that these migrants will be left-wing voters. By playing with the lives and safety of Europeans, they want to win their support.

By means of a show trial involving well-known politicians, they want to silence all critics of the migration pact, which Tusk’s team will probably soon accept.

“This request was made with the intention of harming our political activities”

This view is shared by his PiS colleague, Beata Mazurek: “We are neither surprised nor shocked by this decision. We anticipated what was going to happen, given everything that’s going on in the European Parliament. […] I’d like to remind you that the rapporteur on the request to lift our immunity was the French lawyer and lecturer Gilles Lebreton, an expert in international law. In his opinion, he unequivocally called for the request to lift our immunity to be rejected, arguing it very well. One of his points was that this request was made with the intention of harming our political activities in the European Parliament. Another was that the video’s content did not exceed acceptable standards of public expression in the political lives of the various member states. We are moving forward and taking action, and we will not be limited in anything.

We won’t give in to pressure and we won’t limit our political activities.

Brussels’ authoritarian drift

For Polish MEP Ryszard Legutko (PiS), the European institutions have long been moving in this increasingly authoritarian direction.

Any deviation from the ideological monopoly which dominates the European Union is an opportunity for them to try and combat all those they consider to be their adversaries.”

And this decision by the European Parliament is indeed both unprecedented and highly questionable. As stressed by Genowefa Grabowska, professor of law at the University of Silesia, “This is not about their individual behavior, something they authored themselves, or the production of material that ended up on social media. This is about an activity involving the right to share legitimate election campaign adverts. […] This is about an activity involving the right to share legitimate election campaign adverts.”