Polish PM holds 'constructive' talks with EC chief
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have held what officials hailed as a "constructive" meeting amid concerns over the rule of law in Poland.
Mateusz Morawiecki and Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak.
During their meeting in Brussels late on Tuesday, Morawiecki said he explained to Juncker “very clearly” that Poland's justice system reforms aimed for “more transparency, more independence, more objectivity and more cost efficiency.”
The European Commission in December took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over controversial changes to the judicial system by the country’s ruling conservatives.
The move means that the EU’s executive wants the bloc’s member states to declare that the rule of law in Poland is under threat.
Poland has reformed laws governing district courts, the Supreme Court and the influential National Council of the Judiciary, a body that nominates new judges and is tasked with safeguarding the independence of courts.
Poland's ruling conservatives have been criticised for trying to stack the courts in their favour.
Morawiecki and Juncker agreed to meet again in late February when the Polish prime minister is expected to be in Brussels for an EU summit.
They also discussed migration, as Poland has not accepted a single migrant under a 2015 EU programme that obliged member states to relocate from camps in Italy and Greece a quota of migrants who had fled the war-torn Middle East and Africa.
Morawiecki admitted that Poland's asylum laws were “unusually strict.”
He also said that Poland had accepted Chechen refugees who had fled their homes after two Russian invasions, and that “at least tens of thousands” of more than 1 million Ukrainian people living in Poland had escaped war-afflicted areas.
Morawiecki and Juncker also discussed the future of the European Union, Poland's role in the bloc, internal market policies, energy policy and Brexit during their Brussels meeting, which was also attended by the European Commission’s deputy chief Frans Timmermans. (vb/pk)