The European Commission must act against the Polish Government’s continuous erosion of the rule of law and take action over its failure to implement European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings, according to the EPP Group in the European Parliament. Speaking on behalf of the Group, MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen and Andrzej Halicki strongly condemned acts of police violence against peaceful protestors and expressed their full solidarity with tens of thousands of Polish men and women rightly outraged by the Constitutional Tribunal's politicised decision, ahead of today's parliamentary debate on the protests.
"The recent ruling by the politicised Constitutional Tribunal is yet another example of the political take-over of the judiciary and the systemic collapse of the rule of law in Poland. The EPP Group has voiced serious concerns over the deteriorating situation in Poland for many years now, and despite ongoing EU procedures, and a ruling from the ECJ, we have not seen any impactful action from the Commission. The time for talking has passed. It is time for action and consequences must follow the Polish Government’s failure to heed repeated warnings. Women's rights are human rights, and as such, they also need to be fully protected by law”, insisted Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP.
The EPP Group is calling for a thorough assessment of the composition of the Tribunal and the consideration of an infringement procedure in relation with its rulings and its unlawful composition, which puts in question its ability to uphold the Polish Constitution. Member States must also urgently examine this matter and other allegations of violations of fundamental rights in Poland.
Polish citizens are deeply concerned that the freedoms and rights guaranteed under EU law are being ripped away under the rule of the increasingly autocratic Law and Justice (PiS)-led government, according to the MEPs.
"Recent events in Poland show a clear pattern of intent by the PiS-led government to ignore and undermine the most fundamental EU values. The dismantling of the entire justice system affects not only judges, but also the citizens directly. The Tribunal, which should guard the Polish Constitution, has become a tool for PiS politicians and those opposed to women's rights", said Andrzej Halicki MEP, Head of the Polish Delegation (Platforma Obywatelska) of the EPP Group.
Halicki warned that the Polish Government must turn back from its undemocratic path, take full account of the recommendations of the Venice Commission with regard to the justice system and swiftly and fully implement the rulings of the ECJ as well as the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
“It has been a very difficult time for the people of Poland who see their EU values under constant attack. Those peacefully protesting, women and journalists included, have often been beaten or hit with tear gas by police and undercover agents and attacked by nationalist militias. It is clear that the PiS government will do whatever it takes to stay in power, but it is acting against the 80 percent of those Poles who adhere to EU values and more than 70 percent of those who oppose the Tribunal's decision.”
“The EU must also stand up for Poland, for the rule of law, and protect Polish citizens - and that means finally taking action”, Halicki underlined.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States