MEPs call to ‘speak out and act’ against recent law reforms in Poland

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Leaders of five main political groups in the European Parliament, EPP, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, ALDE, The Greens, and GUE-NGL have called on EU institutions to “speak out and act” against the latest reforms of the judiciary system in Poland.

“The survival of democracy and the rule of law is at stake,” they said in a letter to parliament president Antonio Tajani. “This is not only in violation of the Polish Constitution but also against fundamental principles of the EU treaties,” they wrote, adding that if passed it would “not only mean that the rule of law is abolished in Poland but also that democratic elections cannot be guaranteed anymore.”

The EU parliament groups leaders asked the European Commission to “act now and clearly outline the consequences of adoption of these laws.”

The situation in Poland will be discussed by the EU commissioners on Wednesday.

“The commission follows these events with great concern,” the EU executive spokesman Margaritis Schinas commented on this issue.

The only major party which did not sign the letter was the European Conservatives and Reformists group, of which Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) is a member.

Last week, Sejm passed a new law which terminates the current terms of the members of the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), and allow the parliament to choose new ones in their place. The Council has powers to nominate judges, who are later appointed by the president. Its members are currently mostly selected by the judges themselves for four-year terms. Another bill gives the justice minister right to nominate judges to district and appeals court. Another draft law calls for the retirement of all Supreme Court judges and new appointments to be made by the justice minister. Among the court’s tasks is confirming the validity of elections.

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