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Poland plans a return to the rule of law – it may take some time

Poland plans a return to the rule of law – it may take some time

in the end In 2017, the European Commission started For the first time, a so-called Article 7.1 measure has been taken against a Member State for a violation of the Union's fundamental values. In this case, it was a matter of the so-called Polish judicial reforms implemented by the conservative national government of the time. The Committee believes that the reforms threaten to undermine the independence of courts and judges from political interference. But in the following years, the government continued to control the judiciary, which, among other things, was condemned by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Justice on several occasions. The country has, among others, a A multi-million dollar fine from the European Court They are pending from 2021 – something the previous government ignored.

Last fall, a new government was elected consisting of a coalition of liberal conservatives, social democrats, Christian democrats and liberals. Today, Tuesday, in Brussels, a detailed plan was presented to other European Union countries on how the country can restore judicial independence.

– For us, this is a particularly important day because we have started the Article 7 departure procedure, said Polish EU Minister Adam Szlabka.

The country's Justice Minister Adam Bodnar believes it would be symbolically important for the country to be able to leave the Article 7.1 procedure.

– If Poland exits this procedure, it means that we are stronger as a member state, that we can have a greater influence on how European integration goes and we will have more power to support the ideas and projects that we want to implement. Bodnar said at the European Union level.

The Polish government also promised to fully comply with the rulings of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Justice against the changes introduced to the law by the previous government.

“Very positive feedback”

According to EU Evaluation Commissioner Vera Jourova, who was present at the EU ministerial meeting in Brussels on Tuesday when the Polish plan was presented, the plan has received “very positive reactions” among representatives of other member states.

– The action plan could lead to the end of Article 7 but there is still a lot of work to do, Jourova said.

Federal Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders noted that the new Polish government has already pushed through a number of bills aimed at restoring the independence of courts and judges. At the same time, he warned that restoration must be carried out in accordance with the regulations.

“We must restore the rule of law in accordance with the principles of the rule of law,” Reynders said.

Swedish European Union Minister Jessica Roswall (centre) said before presenting the plan that Sweden views the Polish initiative positively, but points out the importance of finding the right balance.

– I welcome the government's high level of ambition, but I also respect that it will take time. At the same time, this must be done in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, Roswaal said.

You may encounter obstacles

The bills contained in Tuesday's plan must now be voted on in both houses of Poland's parliament and approved by President Andrzej Duda, who is allied with the former ruling Law and Justice party. The laws could also be halted by the country's Constitutional Court, which is dominated by judges appointed – in some cases illegally – by the previous government.

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