Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 338

Democracy and rule of law in Poland: serious concerns about judicial independence, free and fair elections

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 27 aprile 2020

Commission and Council need to act decisively to tackle continuous attacks on the judiciary and avoid elections that do not meet international standards.The Civil Liberties Committee held a debate with Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the Croatian Presidency of the Council and Polish Ombusdman Adam Bodnar.
Almost all MEPs who took the floor expressed very serious concerns about the “increasing grip of the executive on the judiciary” in Poland, despite the Polish Minister’s assurances that the reforms were not out of sync with existing provisions in other EU member states. Particular concerns were raised about the recent Constitutional Tribunal decision that declared the Supreme Court resolution to be “void”. The resolution was seeking to implement the latest ECJ ruling for interim measures ordering disciplinary proceedings to be suspended. MEPs and some guest speakers alike stated that this decision disregards the primacy of EU law and the authority of the European Court of Justice. Many MEPs also condemned the adoption of recent judicial reforms that Supreme Court President Malgorzata Gersdorf denounced as a “muzzle law” on 23 January.A large section of the debate focused on the risk posed by holding elections at a time when civil rights are being restricted due to the pandemic and the corresponding media environment, although some arguments were presented about democracy being respected by putting in place postal voting provisions for all citizens. MEPs and some guest speakers highlighted that relevant legal reforms are not in line with Poland’s constitution and the standards set by the international community as regards the organisation of free and fair elections. Similar concerns were voiced in relation to potential legal reforms on hate speech and LGBTI rights, especially as civil society is currently unable to react.A majority of MEPs who took the floor criticised the Council for failing to act decisively in the ongoing Article 7(1) procedure and asked the Commission to act immediately to tackle these threats. Some speakers also drew links between EU funding and adherence to the EU principles enshrined in the Treaty.

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