Saturday

24th Oct 2020

Poland defies EU on rule of law

  • Szydlo (r) said other EU states might rebel like the UK if Brussels did not stop (Photo: premier.gov.pl)

Poland has brushed off EU concerns over the state of its democracy, saying it would not put in place any of the rule-of-law recommendations that it received from the European Commission in July.

”We won’t introduce any changes into Poland’s legal system, which are incompatible with the interests of the Polish state and citizens and lack substantive grounds,” Poland’s prime minister Beata Szydlo said on Thursday (27 October).

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

The commission has been following the situation in Poland closely since the Law and Justice (PiS) government was elected last year.

Soon after taking office, PiS passed a series of controversial laws. In particular, the government tried to end checks and balances on its power by refusing to recognise rulings by Poland’s constitutional court and trying to stack the same court with judges of its own choice.

Thursday saw pass a three month deadline given by the commission to Poland to address what it saw as ”systemic threats” to rule of law in the country.

Brussels would receive a formal answer, Szydlo told journalists in Warsaw.

”But our impression is that their recommendations are politically motivated. Poland is a democratic state. We will argue with with the commission and present our reasons and arguments,” she said.

”Personally, I cannot understand the commission is still dealing with Poland,” she added.

”Anything we do is based on the law, adopted by a parliamentary majority, in line with the Polish constitution.”

There was a need to rein in the EU executive, which was working beyond the mandate given to it by the EU treaties, Szydlo said, and warned that other countries, like the UK, could rebel against membership if Brussels did not stop.

”If the EU institutions keep working this way, they shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of crises and EU scepticism,” she said.

Warsaw’s collision course with Brussels could, in theory, end with sanctions. But the procedure is unchartered territory.

It's the first time the commission has made use of the framework, which was established in 2014.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told Brussels journalists on Thursday to be patient.

”We haven't yet received Poland’s letter. What we will do next depends on the answer provided by Warsaw.”

Women shake Poland's pillars of power

Polish women are marching again this Sunday and Monday. They could succeed where the opposition, the European Commission and other protests failed, and redraw Poland's political map.

Opinion

Poland: A country without a constitution

Poland is entering a period of rule by PiS decree, with street protests, foreign pressure, and regime infighting left as the only hopes for rule of law writes Maciej Kisilowski.

News in Brief

  1. UK scientists fear Brexit blow to joint EU research
  2. Greek migrant camp lockdown extended
  3. Lukashenko and 14 others in EU crosshairs
  4. EU imposes sanctions over 2015 Bundestag cyberattack
  5. Italy reignites Mont Blanc border dispute with France
  6. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  7. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  8. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19

Opinion

All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter

The European Court of Justice is currently facing a major question: can religious freedom coexist with animal welfare? The decision of whether religious slaughter can continue is expected in a matter of weeks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. South Caucasus death toll much worse than feared
  2. Polish court effectively bans legal abortions
  3. MEPs urge EU to be ready to dump disputed energy treaty
  4. EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'
  5. Why German presidency is wrong on rule of law
  6. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  7. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  8. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us