European Parliament debates rule of law in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The European Parliament has held another debate concerning the rule of law in Poland, following controversial judicial changes by the Polish government.
European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans. Photo: consilium.europa.eu.
At the end of last year, the European Commission took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over controversial changes to the judicial system by the government.
During the debate in the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, expressed hopes that there would be an agreement between the Polish government and the European Commission by the end of March, and expressed satisfaction that dialogue has been resumed.
Timmermans said: “This dialogue should be continued and I hope that it will result in actions being taken, which will remedy the issue… I am waiting for specific proposals from the Polish side.”
He added that the rule of law is key for the functioning of the European Union, and necessary for members of the Union to be able to trust each other.
Meanwhile the MEP Ryszard Legutko of Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party argued that the Polish government is repairing the country’s judicial system.
Legutko said: “The problem is that the majority of [EU] countries do not have any clue as to what is happening in Poland, and as to what our reforms entail and why they are being carried out.”
Poland's governing Law and Justice party has previously argued that sweeping changes are needed to reform what they claim is an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past.
Among a handful of non-Polish MEPs who sided with the Polish government during the debate was Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party. Farage accused the European Union of wanting to punish Law and Justice for being Eurosceptic. (sl/vb)