Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Stakeholder

What is really happening in Poland?

  • Poland today is a safe country. There are no acts of collective assault on sexual, racial or any other grounds. (Photo: ECR group)

Statement by the Law and Justice (PiS) delegation of the ECR Group in advance of the debate on the situation in Poland in the European Parliament.

In 2015, a democratic general election took place in Poland, resulting in a change of power.

Mr Andrzej Duda won the office of President of Poland and the united right under the leadership of its largest party, namely the Law and Justice Party (PiS), won an absolute majority in Parliament.

The centre-liberal coalition of the Civic Platform (PO) and the Polish People's Party (PSL), which had been in power for 8 years, went into opposition. Left wing parties failed to obtain the required minimum percentage threshold of the vote, so they are not represented in Parliament.

The results of the elections have shown that the Polish people have critically judged the policy of the previous government, including its deficit of guarantees for the freedom of speech.

Under the rule of that government there were cases of penal repression against persons expressing criticism of the government of the time on the internet, at sports events or during anti-government demonstrations.

Surveillance and even the repression of journalists gave cause for serious concern. Yet, these facts did not attract the attention of or give rise to any reaction from European Institutions at the time.

European values

Just before the elections the outgoing incumbent coalition introduced changes in the Constitutional Court leading to the nomination of its own candidates to all but one of the existing positions of judges at that Court. This was done in violation of the Constitution, as subsequently reaffirmed by the Constitutional Court itself.

The newly elected parliament was therefore obliged to take the necessary remedial action. The controversy concerning the Constitutional Court, which was a consequence of the unconstitutional actions of the previous government, is practically over.

The composition of the Constitutional Court is now complete with the majority of its judges – 9 out of 15 – having been recommended to their positions by the present opposition.

The Law and Justice (PiS) government formed following the elections has undertaken important reforms expected by the Polish people, concerning the taxation system, family support benefits, education, health care, and the judiciary.

These reforms are in line with the principles and rules of the Polish Constitution, fully respecting European values.

Poland has now a stable majority government. The opposition is represented in the Parliament's governing bodies, with the leader of the opposition presiding over the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Poland is a decentralised state, with extensively developed regional and local self-governing bodies. In 15 out of 16 regions and in most of the major Polish cities, local self government is controlled by the Civic Platform (PO), which is in opposition only in Parliament.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression is respected. Anti-government demonstrations take place in Poland without any impediment or repression. There is complete freedom of the press, a major part of which is owned by foreign and especially German media corporations.

There is also complete freedom of communication on the internet. There is no censorship whatsoever. Any blocking of information about important events, such as those that took place recently in Germany with regards to the events in Cologne and other German cities, is inconceivable in Poland.

Poland today is a safe country. There are no acts of collective assault on sexual, racial or any other grounds. New year festivities and other popular events taking place in Poland are enjoyed in peace, without hindrance, disturbance or acts of aggression.

The situation is clearly much better in this regard than in many other European Union countries, where unfortunately acts of terror, collective aggression or even racist and sexual assaults do take place. Poland is not the scene of any such events.

In Poland the rights of women are respected, so they are not exposed to the threat of being assaulted in the streets. No one confronts them with degrading demands not to provoke potential aggressors by their clothing or behaviour.

The authorities do not give women humiliating advice not to venture away from home alone and to stay in groups when moving around in public, as has been suggested to women by the authorities in Germany.

Poland is a stable, democratic member state of the European Union, respecting European values, while shaping its internal legal order in a sovereign manner, in accordance with the democratically expressed will of its people.

Poland, as one of the largest countries in the European Union, contributes its significant part to the development and security of Europe.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

What does EU scrutiny of Poland mean?

The EU Commission will discuss on Wednesday the state of play in Poland, and might launch a monitoring procedure against Warsaw. But what does this procedure mean, and does it matter?

Opinion

Towards a Putinisation of Central Europe?

With the migrant crisis ongoing, Central European countries are increasingly inching towards populism and nationalism. Russian president Vladimir Putin may well be become a model for some.

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  2. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  3. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  4. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  6. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  7. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  9. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Step Up Water Management Cooperation
  11. CECEMachinery Industry Calls for Joint EU Approach to Develop Digital Construction Sector
  12. EnelNo ETS Deal Means It Can Still Be Strengthened