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Polish legal changes not understood in the West, PM tells CNN

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 25.01.2019 12:30
Poland’s prime minister has told US broadcaster CNN that some of the legal changes made by his conservative government have met with criticism abroad because they are not understood in Western Europe.
Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: EPA/GIAN EHRENZELLER Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: EPA/GIAN EHRENZELLER

Speaking to CNN during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual gathering of global political and business leaders, Morawiecki said: “There is a lack of understanding [of] what is happening in Poland by our western neighbours.”

He added that Poland's fellow EU members in Western Europe were "on the right side of the Iron Curtain,” while Poland was on the wrong side of the divide for decades in the past when it was under communism.

Morawiecki also told CNN’s Richard Quest on Thursday that his government was changing Poland’s justice system to make it as efficient as those in Western Europe.

“We introduce reforms to be as efficient as in the other, western legal systems,” he argued.

Morawiecki also asserted that the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union of which Poland is part, was seeking to “politicise” a dispute with Warsaw over legal changes.

“Although Poland changed its provisions regarding [the] judiciary, the European Commission does not recognise it,” Morawiecki told Quest. “I feel that some of the European Commissioners want to politicise this dispute.”

He argued that although a new Polish procedure for appointing judges “is less dependent on decisions of political bodies” than those previously in existence in the country, the European Commission was sticking to its guns saying that the rule of law in Poland was still under threat.

Morawiecki told CNN: “We introduced changes in our legal order. The procedure of appointing judges is less dependent on decisions of political bodies. Notwithstanding, the European Commission states that the rule of law is still under threat in my country.”

Poland’s deputy foreign minister for European affairs last month voiced surprise that Brussels was not withdrawing a legal case against Warsaw after Polish parliamentarians approved legislation to reinstate retired Supreme Court judges.

The Court of Justice of the European Union in October issued an interim injunction ruling that the contested reforms to Poland’s Supreme Court should be suspended.

In July, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, launched a procedure against Warsaw over the reform, arguing that it undermined “the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges.”

That move followed the European Commission last December taking the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms and possibly paving the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.

Poland's governing Law and Justice party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes are needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past.

On Brexit: 'I regret that the UK is leaving the EU'

When asked about Britain's impending departure from the European Union, Morawiecki told CNN that he regretted Britain was exiting the bloc.

He also said that Poland stood united with the rest of the EU on a Brexit deal negotiated with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

He said: “When it comes to Brexit – our proposal is the same as [that of the] 27 countries of the EU. We are more than united in this case. Nonetheless, I must emphasise that I regret that the UK is leaving the EU.”

In an earlier interview with the BBC at Davos, Morawiecki said he wanted to see more Poles return from the UK amid strong economic growth and low unemployment in their home country.

During a visit to New York in October, Morawiecki clanged a bell to open a session of the New York Stock Exchange and touted his country’s economic success story and government achievements during an interview on CNN International's "Quest Means Business."


Source: IAR, Twitter

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