Thursday

20th Jul 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

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.

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.

We must renew Europe for all Europeans

A call for socialist values and rights at a time when Europe is facing a number of existential threats, says a group of progressive European affairs ministers.

Stakeholders' Views

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

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  2. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  3. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  4. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  5. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  6. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  7. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary
  8. Commission: clean up diesel cars, or EU agency inevitable

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  2. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead
  3. EU2017EEPM Ratas: EU Is Not Only an Idea for the 500mn People in the Bloc, It Is Their Daily Reality
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCloser Energy Co-Operation Keeps Nordic Region on Top in Green Energy
  5. ILGA-EuropeGermany Finally Says Ja - Bundestag Votes for Marriage Equality!
  6. EPSUJapanese and European Public Sector Unions Slam JEFTA
  7. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  8. UNICEFNarrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Health of the Poorest Children
  9. EU2017EEEstonia to Surprise Europe With Unique Cultural Programme
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Vs. Critical Voices
  11. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  12. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law