Thursday

20th Sep 2018

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.

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 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. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  2. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  3. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  4. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  5. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  6. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt
  7. Stop 'migration blame-game', Tusk tells EU leaders
  8. McDonald's Luxembourg tax deal 'compatible' with EU rules

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner
  2. EU mulls action to prevent cattle suffering at Turkish border
  3. Safeguarding Schengen at Salzburg
  4. Denmark's image 'damaged' by bank scandal
  5. Real Brexit progress needed by October, Barnier says
  6. Poland to face EU top court on rule of law
  7. Austria's EU presidency: a bridge over troubled water?
  8. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us