Saturday

21st Sep 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Opinion

Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril

Matteo Salvini's recent gambit may have failed, but, in his own words: "From today you will find me even more pissed off and determined. I will go from town to town and we will take this country back."

Opinion

Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration

Brussels' current vision for cooperation on defence, where third countries can contribute but have no say in decision-making and in the guidance of operations, is unlikely to be attractive to the UK.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us