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European Commission gives Poland deadline over Tribunal

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 18.05.2016 16:20
The European Commission has given Poland an ultimatum to resolve the conflict over the Constitutional Tribunal.
Photo: Flickr.com/Kancelaria Premiera
Photo: Flickr.com/Kancelaria Premiera

The executive body of the European Union, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, has given Poland until Monday to find a solution to the ongoing disagreements over the Constitutional Tribunal.

“If there is no significant progress by 23 May, then the First Vice-President [Frans Timmermans] has been empowered by the College of Commissioners to adopt the draft Rule of Law Opinion which the College discussed today,” the Commission wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

“After the Opinion is adopted and communicated to the Polish authorities, they have two weeks to submit their observations. On the basis of these observations, the Commission would pursue the constructive dialogue with the Polish government with a view to finding solutions to the concerns set out in the opinion. If the concerns have not been satisfactorily resolved within a reasonable time, the Commission may issue a recommendation.”

Ongoing row

An ongoing conflict over the Tribunal began following the election of five new judges by the previous Civic Platform (PO)-controlled parliament shortly ahead of Poland's 25 October general election.

PiS said such a move by what turned out to be an outgoing government was premature and unfair.

After PiS swept to power, the new parliament revoked these judges and chose another five, who were promptly sworn in by President Andrzej Duda.

The Constitutional Tribunal later ruled that two of the five judges elected under PO had been elected unconstitutionally, though the other three elections were constitutional.

The European Commission’s Timmermans in April 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. (rg)

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