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Peter Foster @pmdfoster
, 16 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
The #EU decision to trigger "nuclear option" #article7 against Poland is extremely awkward for UK and bad news for a deeply divided EU leadership that lost its head when Macron got elected. A 1/thread…
First. The problem for Mrs May, both immediate and longer term.

1. The UK has invested huge amount of diplomatic capital in expanding UK-Polish relationship after #Brexit

German MEP on recent visit said Polish officials joking about sheer number of UK ministers who visited/2
They sent 150 Lightdragoons for Nato trip-wire, started Belvedere Forum and even deployed heavy weaponry (Wills n Kate) in the Summer.

Tomorrow May, Hammond and Boris all going. A PM, Fgn Sec and Chancellor in one hit. That's serious diplomatic love. /3
Love that has been lavished on ruling Law & Justice and its oddball hardline conservative leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski (visited by @DavidDavisMP and received at No.10) that has now been hit with ignominy of #article7 process. #Awkward /4
Not surprisingly Liberal EU leaders like @guyverhofstadt want to know how this love squares with Mrs May's promise in Florence to defend "international order" and the democracy/human rights values in Article 2 TFEU "by which we stand" /5…
This is darned ticklish. Per UK dip sources the Poland outreach was always a long-term play. It yielded pretty much zero dividend in Phase one of #Brexit. But UK been working hard behind scenes to avoid confrontation now set up by #article7 trigger. /6
Essentially the Brits now caught in a nasty game of virtue signaling.

Macron and co (cf recent Barnier remarks about UK deserting EU during terror attacks by voting #Brexit) want to frame Brexit as a values choice. /7
Article7 trigger exposes May for cuddling up to EU's Trumpian regime.

The NIGHTMARE SCENARIO, say Fgn Office sources, is if this comes to vote in European Council over taking steps in Art 7.1 and UK has *casting vote*


The Trumpian comparison is apposite.

Trump, like PiS is populist, and popular.

Trump is also stuffing federal judiciary with placemen (legally) which reminds us that lots of countries have political inputs to judiciary. /8
It also points to hypocrisy on EU side.

As @rdanielkelemen observes in his paper here the Kleptocracy of Orbanistan (sorry, Hungary) is equally illiberal, it just has better figleaves a) constitutional cover b) EPP membership which protects them /9…
Also worth noting, as @MehreenKhn did, that EU is utterly hypocritical on Turkey (trashing rule of law worse than Poland) and its late-night love in this with Kurz of Austria, the Millennial right-winger in bed with FPO who are ideologically hard-right /10
I am not defending Law & Justice, but they are not wrong when they say this #Article7 has at least as much to do with post-Macron EU giddiness and score settling over migrant quotas as it does with how bad Poland really is /11
FWIW in my view, both Poland and Hungary deserve public censure, but principally for the institutionalised kleptocracy which is fuelled by EU structural funds, to which governments are gatekeepers. /12
But the EU won't speak to that.

Instead they launch a process that will only harden and highlight divisions.

It has echoes of decision to use QMV to force through migrant quotas. The liberals felt righteous for a bit, then spent a year sweeping up the mess. /13
This will be no different, since Hungary has promised to veto sanctions anyway.

It will also very likely, per @AleksSzczerbiak, weaken Polish opposition who will be accused of unpatriotically siding with Tusk/those in Brussels who would do Poland down /14
None of which will save Mrs May from some very awkward decisions in next few months.

Note her spokesman told @JakubKrupa she would "discuss" the Rule of Law issue with Poles. To UK media he said "raise her concerns".

Such is the tightrope the UK must walk after #Brexit. 15/END
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