Saturday

18th Nov 2017

EU and Poland in last minute talks on rule of law

  • Prime minister Beata Szydlo said that more and more people in the commission wanted to ruin the EU (Photo: Pawel Kula / Sejm.)

European commissioner Frans Timmermans is making a last minute trip to Warsaw on Tuesday (24 May), where he will meet with prime minister Beata Szydlo.

The two are expected to discuss possible solutions to the legal crisis that erupted last year in Poland.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Law and Justice (PiS) government had tried to appoint new judges to Poland’s constitutional court and pass a reform curtailing its powers. The court judged the steps to be unconstitutional, but the government hasn't recognised that ruling.

The European Commission had given Poland until Monday (23 May) to solve concerns over the rule of law.

Timmermans had prepared an opinion that would have marked the second stage of a rule of law monitoring procedure launched for the first time in EU history, in January this year.

But on Monday, a commission spokesman referred to an ”ongoing and constructive discussions with the Polish authorities” and said it was not sure that the report would be adopted.

Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski later told reporters he was pleased that the commission had shown a will to resume dialogue, ”rather than the ultimatum that they made some days ago.”

He said talks were taking place at an expert level, without the involvement of ministers, and that Warsaw had presented many compromise solutions last week.

”We are interested in dialogue, the prospect of explaining the situation and bringing it to a happy end,” he added.

The opinion - which is said to exist only in a paper version to make it more difficult to leak - was seen last week by Rzeczpospolita.

The Polish daily reported that the commission confirmed a report by the Venice Commission, a panel of European legal experts, which warned earlier this year that the constitutional court reform would undermine democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

But the commission reportedly went even further, saying that Poland did not apply democratic standards.

According to Rzeczpospolita, the commission said that there was no democracy and respect for human rights without the rule of law, which had been hampered by the constitutional court crisis.

The EU executive was also said to remind Poland that it was is a member of the EU, where respect for the rule of law is a prerequisite for confidence of citizens and governments of other member states.

PiS summoned a parliamentary debate on the commission’s opinion last Friday (20 May).

Prime minister Szydlo accused the commission of malice, airing her anger and surprise over the announcement that the opinion was to be adopted on Monday.

"We are in a dialogue, then media announce that the report is already ready," she said, adding that more and more people in the commission wanted to ruin the EU.

The Sejm, the Polish parliament, also passed a resolution confirming that Poland was a sovereign country.

Referring to commission sources, the RFM FM radio said that the opinion would probably be discussed again by the commissioners during their weekly college meeting on Wednesday (25 May). The report could be updated with Poland’s proposals to solve the conflict, and adopted.

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.

Poland vows solution to judicial crisis

Polish PM Szydlo and EU commissioner Timmermans appeared to mend fences in Warsaw. But neither would say how Poland will address concerns.

EU confrontation with Poland escalates

The EU commission said there is systemic threat to rule of law in Poland and gave new ultimatum. Poland said commission is "losing its authority".

Poland questions legality of EU probe

On eve of potentially damning EU decision, Polish strongman Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said EU rule of law monitoring could be challenged in Luxembourg court.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse