Landsbergis urges EU to think twice before punishing Poland in rule of law dispute

In the week of heightened tensions between EU member Poland and the European Commission, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis opined that punishing Poland could lead to deeper anti-European sentiment, American media organisation Bloomberg reports.
This week marked fiery addresses on the issue in the European Parliament from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Vilnius to seek support, prompting Lithuania to take a stand.
«It would be simple to punish Poland over its decision,» Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Ziniu Radijas Thursday. «But there’s a price for such punishment: further strengthening of anti-European sentiment, perhaps alienation of some sort, maybe not Brexit, but some legal alienation from the EU.»
The EU could launch its so-called conditionality mechanism to suspend transferring billions of euros in financing for Poland, which it accuses of undermining the rule of law and court independence. Landsbergis recognised the importance of defending vital EU values, but admitted that Vilnius seeks to maintain its strategic partnership with neighbouring Poland.
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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda evaluated on Tuesday, October 19, that linking rule-of-law principles to financial sanctions would be morally wrong. Nausėda cautioned both sides that the dispute could become «tragic for Poland and tragic for the EU,» and urged the mediation reach a compromise.