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Not enough progress in rule-of-law row: EC chief

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 16.05.2018 15:38
Poland has not yet made enough progress in assuaging Brussels’ concerns over the rule of law, the European Commission's chief said on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with Poland's prime minister.
Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: European UnionJean-Claude Juncker. Photo: European Union

Speaking in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker said, however, that he was optimistic about ongoing negotiations with Poland.

Also on Wednesday, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that the progress made by Poland is not enough to ensure an independent judiciary.

On Monday Timmermans said some progress had been made in the ongoing dispute with Warsaw over court reforms and Poland’s alleged breach of rule-of-law principles, but added: “We are not in a position to say the issue has been resolved".

Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has said that there is little room for further compromise.

And the Polish president’s chief of staff said that “Poland has made an effort and now it is up to Brussels’ political will to put an end to this issue”.

Morawiecki and Juncker are expected to meet for talks in Sofia on Wednesday, ahead of a European Union-Western Balkans summit in the Bulgarian capital, according to reports.

The rule-of-law row

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union, 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 justice system by the country’s ruling conservatives.

The move meant that the EU’s executive wanted the bloc’s member states to declare that the rule of law in Poland was under threat. That could potentially pave the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.

The Polish government has since moved to modify the disputed legal changes.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in early May met Timmermans in Brussels to brief him on planned amendments to disputed laws regulating the work of the country's court system, according to PAP.

Poland’s lawmakers have since approved adjustments to regulations governing assistant judges and also voted to limit a contested procedure that allows “extraordinary appeals” for reopening closed court cases.

Officials in Warsaw were hoping the modifications would prove enough for the EU executive to stop the Article 7 procedure.

The European Commission on May 2 proposed a new long-term budget for the EU. The plan introduces a mechanism that could financially penalise countries that are judged to have breached EU principles on the rule of law. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP

tags: rule of law
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