Friday

30th Sep 2022

Polish government promises constitutional reform

  • Poland's president Andrzej Duda celebrating Constitution Day. (Photo: Grzegorz Jakubowski/KPRP)

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has called for a public debate on updating the constitution, amid a bitter row over the government's attempts to reform the constitutional court.

President Andrzej Duda called the constitution a "work in progress” that reflected "times passed".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Not everything could be regulated properly, we cannot let that pass on the current agenda," he said.

He said the nation should come together in a debate on how to update the text.

Duda was speaking on Tuesday (3 May) - a public holiday when Poles celebrate the short-lived 1792 constitution. The current basic law dates to 1997.

The president, who represented PiS as an MEP before winning the presidency last year, has already said there should be better protection of families, especially those with disabled children, hinting at a possible constitutional ban on abortion.

”Where are the standards that would really define modernity in the current world?” he asked.

”How is it possible that the constitution and the constitutional court are supposed to defend civil rights, but still it is possible to raise the retirement age for Poles, and they have no protection against it? Who wrote the constitution and how is it guarded?”

Earlier this year, the EU started monitoring the rule of law in Poland in a special procedure after PiS reformed the constitutional court.

The law increased the number of judges required to make a decision valid, and changed the order of cases.

PiS said the reforms were needed to reflect the new balance of power, but the judges said the court had been paralysed.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski used Constitution Day to announce a constitutional review beginning in 2017.

His party currently lacks the two-thirds majority needed to change the basic law, but he said that could change after the next election.

In the meantime, his party will plan possible changes.

”We have a lot to offer to the Polish society. We can really achieve a great victory,” he told a conference in the Polish parliament on Monday.

But PiS critics say their reforms risk creating a dual legal system because the government is refusing to accept rulings made by the constitutional court, but several lower courts have said they will follow the constitutional court’s rulings rather than those from the government.

European Commission’s vice president Frans Timmermans postponed a planned travel to Warsaw on Saturday (7 May) to follow up on the rule of law procedure.

Many Poles demonstrated on 3 May in support of the rule of law.

In Warsaw, a dozen activists from the Committee in Defence of Democracy protested in front of the presidential palace.

They held up a placard of the first page of the Polish constitution with a footprint of a shoe on it. They urged the president not to trample on the constitution.

EUobserved

How to build an illiberal democracy in the EU

With Brussels increasingly worried by Poland, we take a look how Hungary's Viktor Orban created a template for dismantling democratic checks and balances inside an EU state.

European experts to probe Polish police law

The Council of Europe is sending a team to Poland to investigate fears that a new law will give police too much power, as the supreme court weighs into a row over legal reform.

EU ready to step up Polish monitoring

Poland has said it will not undertake rule of law reforms before EU deadline, prompting stage two of unique monitoring process.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  2. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'we are not going to resign...anywhere'
  3. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  4. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  5. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  6. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  7. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  8. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us