EU admonishes Poland rightwing over changes to court

The European Parliament has accused the Polish government of undermining democracy

EU admonishes Poland rightwing over changes to court

World Bulletin / News Desk

The European Parliament issued a sharp rebuke to Poland's conservative government on Wednesday, saying it was violating the country's constitution and undermining the rule of law by changing the workings of the country's top court. 

The Law and Justice (PiS) government plunged Poland into a political crisis in December, within weeks of winning power, when it pushed through legislation to overhaul the constitutional court and modify its decision-making rules.

In January, the European Commission launched an unprecedented probe to see if the changes  -- seen by critics as endangering the institution's independence --  violated EU democracy rules and merited punitive measures. The resolution approved overwhelmingly by European parliamentarians on Wednesday urged the commission to take action.

"This parliament has spoken loudly and clearly: respect for European values is not a choice but an obligation," said Guy Verhofstadt, a senior MEP from the liberal ALDE group.

The resolution, which was passed with 513 votes for, 142 against and 30 abstentions, said the Warsaw government's shake-up of the court "poses a danger to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo called it "an attack" on the Polish state and said the parliament's time would have been better spent addressing any of the "crises" facing the EU.

"The European Union is experiencing some serious crises and should instead solve them and not meddle in internal political conflict," she said.

"This is nothing more than vulgar international pressure on Poland," said PiS MEP Ryszard Czarnecki.

Since taking office in November 2015, Poland's conservatives have pushed through several pieces of controversial legislation, including strengthening state controls over public broadcasters and now seeking to tighten already limited access to abortions.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Nisan 2016, 09:52