Poland will defend court reforms amid rule-of-law row: top official
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland will defend its court reforms, a top official has said ahead of a meeting in Brussels where officials from Warsaw are expected to address the EU's concerns about the rule of law in Poland.
Poland's European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymański. Photo: KPRM (Public Domain)
Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański said Article 7 procedures against Warsaw should be closed, but that Poland would not push the issue during the meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday.
“We will wait until member states arrive at that conclusion themselves,” Szymański said, adding that Poland would defend the government's reforms “factually and in a professional manner”.
The European Commission last 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.
Since then, the commission launched separate procedures against Poland in response to more recent Supreme Court reforms.
Poland’s hearing in Brussels, for which three hours have been allocated, was to start with an address by European Commission’s Vice President Frans Timmermans, who has previously said that changes to Poland’s Supreme Court, which saw dozens of judges forced into retirement, undermined the independence of the judiciary.
Various outcomes of Poland’s hearing are possible. Officials in Warsaw are likely hopeful that the commission’s concerns are dispelled and that its case is dropped. But the commission might also decide another hearing is needed or send Poland a list of recommendations on how to bring its laws back in line with the bloc’s standards.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is expected to step up its actions over Poland’s Supreme Court, public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported.
It is set to put a case against Poland before the European Court of Justice, and request that the reform of the court is suspended until European judges rule on the Polish reforms, IAR added. (vb/pk)