Wednesday, February 21

Poland

Poland Asks for Postponement of EU Fines Because of Dismantling Disciplinary Court
Europe, News, Poland

Poland Asks for Postponement of EU Fines Because of Dismantling Disciplinary Court

Poland has asked the European Union to delay fines for undermining judicial independence as the country dismantles a controversial disciplinary court for judges. This is stated in a letter that was sent to the European Union last week and was viewed by the Reuters news agency.   The disciplinary committee was established in 2017 by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and is seen as a way to punish judges who disagree with the government. Poland has to pay 70 million euros in penalty payments because the country has not stopped the work of the disciplinary court, despite being ordered to do so by the highest European court. The Polish ambassador to the EU writes that the head of the Polish Supreme Court has already stopped forwarding some cases to the disciplinary committee. No d...
The European Commission Opens New Criminal Proceedings Against Poland
Europe, News, Poland

The European Commission Opens New Criminal Proceedings Against Poland

The European Commission opens new criminal proceedings against Poland for rejecting the importance of European law.   The so-called infringement procedure could bring Poland before the highest European court. Then there is the threat of fines and periodic penalty payments. Earlier this year, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal stated twice that the Polish constitution sometimes takes precedence over European law. The committee is "seriously concerned" about this. Brussels fears that the rulings no longer guarantee that European rules apply throughout the Union. Several infringement procedures against Poland are already underway. The country was also imposed two fines last year, but the country has refused to pay them for the time being.
Poland Removed from European Justice Network
Europe, News, Poland

Poland Removed from European Justice Network

Poland will be removed from the European Network for Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ). This is because the Polish council no longer meets the requirements for membership, such as independence from the incumbent government.   The network suspended the Polish Council of the Judiciary (KRS) in September 2018 and announced the expulsion in April. The KRS had already indicated that it did not want to change course but was still given time to respond. The rule of law in Poland is under heavy pressure due to numerous measures taken by the Polish government. The Polish ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has implemented controversial reforms in recent years that have been condemned by the European Court of Justice, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the UN. One of the tricky poi...
Poland on Collision Course with EU After Court Ruling: They are Playing with Fire
Europe, News, Poland

Poland on Collision Course with EU After Court Ruling: They are Playing with Fire

EU countries have reacted with shock to the conclusion of a Polish court that Polish law sometimes outweighs European law. French Minister of European Affairs Clément Beaune spoke of an attack on the European Union.   The minister called the situation very seriously and said there is a risk that Poland will leave the EU. However, he emphasized at BFM TV that he certainly did not want that. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn accused the Polish government of "playing with fire". At the beginning of an EU meeting in his home country, he said that it is essential for the functioning of the European Union that European law takes precedence over national law. "If that principle falls, then the Europe that we know and that was built with the treaties of Rome disappears." The ruli...
Polish Region No Longer LBGT Free Zone
Europe, News, Poland

Polish Region No Longer LBGT Free Zone

A Polish region has withdrawn a resolution against "LGBT ideology" after pressure from the EU. The regional parliament of Święty Krzyż decided to delete the statement from 2019.   In Poland, dozens of cities and areas have declared themselves 'LGBT-free zones'. That abbreviation stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The European Commission, the day-to-day management of the EU, finds this discriminatory and threatens to take measures. The commission has warned regions that subsidies could be frozen if they stick to their anti-LGBT policies. The head of Święty Krzyż's regional administration said Brussels has explained that it is contrary to European treaties to "mark areas, companies or services to be LGBT-free".
The European Commission Wants Penalty for Poland in Rule of Law Dispute
Europe, News, Poland

The European Commission Wants Penalty for Poland in Rule of Law Dispute

The European Commission wants to impose a penalty payment on Poland to dissolve a disciplinary committee for judges.   The commission has asked the European Court of Justice, which ordered Poland in July to put an end to the college, for the measure. The committee leaves to the court how high the penalty should be. The executive board of the EU is also taking the next step in criminal proceedings that Poland could bring before the court in Luxembourg again because the country does not carry out orders from the court. Then fines can follow. The commission has been embroiled in a heated conflict over the reforms of the Polish judiciary for some time. These affect the independence of the Polish judiciary, according to Brussels. The European Court agreed in July.
Germany: This is No Time For A Veto on the Rule of Law
Europe, Germany, Hungary, News, Poland

Germany: This is No Time For A Veto on the Rule of Law

Hungary and Poland must give up their opposition to the rule of law conditions for the European multiannual budget and the corona repair fund, Germany warns.   With a second wave of the corona pandemic sweeping across Europe, hurting the economy even more, "it is no time for vetoes," European Affairs Minister Michael Roth said to consult with his European colleagues. Budapest and Warsaw fulfilled their threats on Monday and blocked the 1.8 trillion euro EU budget from 2021 to 2027. The other member states decided that recipients of EU subsidies will from now on be judged for their dealings with, for example, freedom of the press and independence of judges, and the two countries cannot live with that. But it is time to "act quickly, in a spirit of solidarity," said Roth, who chair...
Poland Wants European Marshall Plan for Belarus
Belarus, Europe, News, Poland

Poland Wants European Marshall Plan for Belarus

Poland wants the EU to work on a 'Marshall Plan' for Belarus. According to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the aid package must include at least one billion euros in financial aid.   He wants to discuss this at the EU summit next week. It has been very restless for over a month in Eastern European Belarus, which is sometimes referred to as the 'last dictatorship in Europe'. Angry citizens have been taking to the streets in droves since the controversial re-election of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been in power for a quarter of a century and does not want to budge. Morawiecki's 'Marshall Plan' aims to stabilize the Belarusian economy. The term Marshall Plan refers to the American reconstruction aid that Europe received after World War II. The Polish prime min...
Polish President Andrzej Duda Can Now Start His Second Five-Year Term
Europe, News, Poland, Politics

Polish President Andrzej Duda Can Now Start His Second Five-Year Term

Polish President Andrzej Duda can start his second five-year term. He took the oath in parliament on Thursday. The opposition took the opportunity to hold a colourful protest.   Members of the opposition wore mouth masks in rainbow colours in the hall. In doing so, they seemed to protest against statements by the conservative Duda about LGBTI people. Several female politicians wore colourful dresses. They formed a rainbow when they sat together. Critics of the President also held up copies of the Constitution. They think that Duda has little respect for that. Other opposition members stayed out completely in protest, and as a result, part of the room was empty. Duda narrowly won the presidential election last month from Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. He called for unity and coop...
Polish Seniors and Those in Quarantine are Allowed to Vote by Post in Elections
Europe, News, Poland

Polish Seniors and Those in Quarantine are Allowed to Vote by Post in Elections

Polish seniors and those in quarantine are allowed to vote by post in elections. The Polish Parliament approved that measure early on Saturday morning.   Poland will hold presidential elections in May. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda is considered the favourite to win. The opposition had called for the polls to be postponed because of the corona crisis. The amendment of the electoral law was included in the package of economic support measures at the last minute. Opposition leader Borys Budka said the government apparently wants the elections to go ahead at all costs. A parliamentarian from the ruling PiS party denounced opposition protests. According to him, he first complained for weeks that the ballot box "will endanger the elderly and that people in quarantine cannot vote".