Rule of law in Poland: MEPs point to “overwhelming evidence” of breaches

Mateusz Morawiecki

Mr Mateusz MORAWIECKI, Polish Prime Minister. Copyright: European Union

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The Civil Liberties Committee is set to adopt a draft resolution on the continuing deterioration of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Poland.

Following Tuesday’s vote on amendments, the draft interim report will be tabled for final approval at committee level on Thursday morning, by chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES).

The text focuses on the functioning of the legislative and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary and the rights of judges, and the protection of fundamental rights in Poland.

MEPs are deeply concerned that the situation in Poland has seriously deteriorated since Article 7(1) was triggered, despite hearings held with the Polish government in the Council following the December 2017 European Commission proposal, multiple exchanges of views with MEPs, alarming reports by the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, and four infringements procedures launched by the Commission.

The following are among key concerns reflected in the text:

  • the constitutional revision powers taken on by the parliament since 2015, the use of expedited legislative procedures, as well as recent developments pertaining to changes to the electoral law and elections organised during a public emergency;
  • broad changes to the country’s judiciary, enacted during the last few years, ranging from the way appointments are made, to disciplinary procedures, posing a serious risk to judicial independence;
  • the situation of fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism, academic freedom, freedom of assembly and association;
  • the de facto criminalisation of sexual education, as well as hate speech, public discrimination, violence against women, domestic violence and intolerant behaviour against minorities and other vulnerable groups, including LGBTI persons, and the drastic limitation, coming close to de facto banning of abortion and limiting access to emergency contraceptive pills.

Consequently, it “calls on the Council and the Commission to refrain from narrowly interpreting the principle of the rule of law, and to use the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU to its full potential […] for all the principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU, including democracy and fundamental rights”. Noting that the last hearing in the Council “was held as long ago as December 2018”, the text urges the Council “to finally act […] by finding that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU, in the light of overwhelming evidence thereof”.

You can watch recordings of the debates on the report here and on the vote on the amendments here.

Next steps

The amended text will be put to the vote on Thursday morning, with results expected in the afternoon. The interim report is scheduled to be debated and voted on in plenary in September 2020.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

Can Argentina’s new president save the country’s economy?

Commission announces actions to make Europe’s raw materials supply more secure and sustainable

‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up

Competition: The European Commission launches a process to address the issue of collective bargaining for the self-employed

Mental health problems costing Europe heavily

We need to talk: UN gears up for 75th anniversary with Global Conversations

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Coronavirus has exposed human rights gaps. We need to fix this

Commission supports normalisation in Greece through activation of post-programme framework

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

The Juncker Plan at work: bringing investment back on track in Europe

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

EU invests in green projects and bans single-use plastics while climate change requires more to be done

Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

Ending extreme poverty crucial to sustainable future for all: UN chief

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

In The Bahamas, Guterres sees impact of ‘Category Hell’ hurricane, ‘powered by climate change’

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

How poor countries can deal with the economic shock of COVID-19

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

UN welcomes progress in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia naming dispute

Europe is now practically divided as in the Cold War

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

Coronavirus: Commission continues expanding future vaccines portfolio with new talks

The vehicles of our future

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

The ‘American Dream’ can be best achieved in the Nordic nations, says Finland’s PM

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

Strong multilateral institutions key to tackling world’s dramatic challenges, UN chief says In Moscow

Coronavirus COVID-19 wipes $50 billion off global exports in February alone, as IMF pledges support for vulnerable nations

Brexit must not put UK university research at risk

As Alan Turing makes the £50 note, how do countries design their currencies?

Ireland’s planning to make its Emerald Isle even greener

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

‘All atrocity crimes are preventable’ and can never be justified – UN chief

European Innovation Scoreboard 2018: Europe must deepen its innovation edge

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

Renewable energy could power the world by 2050. Here’s what that future might look like

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Trump’s trade wars: Aiming at long term gains for America

Four key challenges for cybersecurity leaders

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Pandemic mental health: the urgency of self-care

This disease once wiped out 60% of Europe’s population – and now it’s back

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s