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Situation surrounding Polish Tribunal 'not optimum': Venice Commission head

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 14.12.2016 10:03
The situation surrounding the Polish Constitutional Tribunal should be “significantly changed soon”, said the head of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission watchdog, ahead of another European Parliament debate on the rule of law in Poland on Wednesday.
Photo: Flickr.com/Kancelaria Premiera
Photo: Flickr.com/Kancelaria Premiera

“Until now, few of our suggestions have been put into place,” the Commission's Gianni Buquicchio said on Tuesday. “I hope that – actually, I have heard – that legislative changes [in Poland], are heading in the right direction, although they are not at their optimum.”

He added that the legal framework around the Tribunal, Poland's top court, should be “significantly changed soon” in order to bring it in line with earlier suggestions by the Commission.

Warsaw has been locked in a simmering row with EU institutions and politicians who have accused Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party of eroding democracy since coming to power last year.

PiS, which has pushed through sweeping legal and other reforms, has denied such charges.

It has argued it is unfair that a constitutional court with a majority of judges appointed under the previous parliament should be able to scupper flagship policies for which the party secured a mandate in democratic elections.

In a recent opinion, the Venice Commission said Poland’s new law “does not meet two essential standards of balance of power in government: the independence of the judiciary and the position of the constitutional court as the final arbiter in constitutional issues.”

The European Parliament is to hold its a debate on Wednesday about Poland amid concerns about the state of democracy in this country. (rg)

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