Senior EU official: Poland should respect Constitutional Tribunal decision
PR dla Zagranicy
The Vice President of the European Commission on Tuesday urged Poland’s government to implement rulings by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal as a start to finding a way out of the political deadlock gripping the country.
Frans Timmermans. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
The governing Law and Justice party’s refusal to recognise a key decision by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal has led to a political stalemate.
The European Commission in January launched an inquiry into whether Poland is upholding the principle of the rule of law and whether controversial legislation pushed through by the conservative Law and Justice government violates EU standards.
After holding talks with the Polish authorities during a visit to Warsaw, European Commission deputy chief Frans Timmermans told reporters today: “The starting position [for political dialogue] should potentially be the recognition of the constitutional order as it is, which in my view would entail publication of the Constitutional Tribunal rulings and also application of those rulings.”
Timmermans said: “The European Commission is there to facilitate dialogue, to help where we can.” But he added that the results of talks were up to parties in Poland.
The Constitutional Tribunal on March 9 rejected a series of controversial changes to the way it functions introduced by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Critics say the changes were designed to paralyse the tribunal, amid PiS fears that the court would block key reforms pledged by the party in the run-up to its landslide election victory in October.
The court's ruling is only binding if officially published by Prime Minister Beata Szydło, which she has refused to do, claiming its decision is invalid.
On 11 March, human rights watchdog the Venice Commission, an arm of the Council of Europe, urged Law and Justice to respect the ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal.
Thorbjoern Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said on Monday during a separate visit to Warsaw that Poland's Constitutional Tribunal is paralysed and urged the country’s parliament to find a way out of the crisis. (pk)