Friday

10th Apr 2020

Poland opposes EU day against death penalty

Poland is opposing the creation of a yearly 'European day against the death Penalty', arguing that the issue should form part of a broader discussion on life and death – including abortion and euthanasia.

In a meeting of EU member states' justice experts in Brussels on Tuesday (4 September), Poland opposed a draft EU declaration announcing the bloc will from now on organize a European day against the death Penalty each year on 10 October.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

The draft declaration should be signed by the EU jointly with the 47-member human rights body the Council of Europe - before next month when the first death penalty day has been scheduled.

But Poland is against the initiative, which was formally proposed by the European Commission in June.

"We don't think that the idea is reasonable because the death penalty is not a problem in Europe. There is no use to promote the law that is already in force in every European country," the spokesman for Polish foreign minister Ana Fotyga told EUobserver.

In arguments greeted with astonishment by some of its EU partners, Poland said in Tuesday's meeting that the idea of the "right to life" cannot be reduced to the death penalty problem alone - and so the issue does not merit a special European day.

"We think that when anybody wants to discuss a problem of death in the context of the law it is also worth to discuss on euthanasia and abortion in this context," the Polish spokesman explained.

"We are not sure whether it is worth establishing a special day [only on the death penalty]," he added.

The European Commission rejected the link between the death penalty and other "right to life" issues. "In our view the context of the discussion is limited and clear. The subject of the debate is the death penalty," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, another factor behind Warsaw's position on the issue appears to be domestic public opinion, with a Polish diplomat indicating that "some polls show that Polish public opinion is divided on the subject."

The European day against the death Penalty should come in addition to the 'World Day against the Death Penalty', which has taken place on 10 October every year since 2003.

In the draft declaration opposed by the Poles, the EU and the Council of Europe "stress the importance of persevering in the pursuit of actions aimed at abolishing the death penalty in the world."

The two organisations "invite European citizens to support the abolition of the death penalty in the world and thereby contribute to the development of fundamental rights and human dignity."

Warsaw's move comes ahead of a meeting of EU justice ministers on 18 September which would formally give the go-ahead for the death penalty day.

Member states' ambassadors to the EU are expected to discuss the issue on Thursday (6 September).

Since the declaration establishing the death penalty day is subject to unanimous agreement in the EU Council, the member states' decision-making body, Poland's position could block the initiative altogether.

The commission is confident that the day will be established. "We expect that the declaration can and will be adopted by all three institutions, including the Council, in time for the launching of the European day against the death penalty to be held from this year onwards on 10 October," the commission spokesman said.

The European Parliament for its part, has already given its approval of the scheme.

Analysis

How the EU's virus-alert agency failed

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency, was meant to highlight threats from infectious diseases, but it painted a rosy picture of Covid-19.

Opinion

Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale

It is still very likely that Europe will face a new deadly spread of the virus next autumn or winter. Until a reliable vaccine and cure are in place, we all have to live in this new reality.

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us