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UPDATE: Polish justice minister outlines 'rule of law' action plan in Brussels

20.02.2024 22:00
Poland's Justice Minister Adam Bodnar on Tuesday visited Brussels to outline an action plan "to restore the rule of law" in his country after eight years of conservative rule, news agencies reported.
Polish Justice Minister Adam Bodnar.
Polish Justice Minister Adam Bodnar.Photo: EPA/OLIVIER MATTHYS

Bodnar attended a meeting of the EU's General Affairs Council, where he laid out his plan to reverse a massive legal overhaul carried out by Poland's previous right-wing government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.

The European Commission in December 2017 took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms.

Article 7 includes a procedure under which rights of member states can be suspended because they have breached core values of the bloc, the Reuters news agency reported.

"I will do everything in my power to convince EU officials that we are on the right path to restore the rule of law," Bodnar told reporters before Tuesday's meeting in Brussels.

He said his action plan includes a set of measures designed to roll back controversial judicial reforms, including changes to the Constitutional Tribunal and the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS).

The Constitutional Tribunal rules on the constitutionality of laws, while the National Council of the Judiciary appoints judges.

European Union Justice Commissioner Didier Reyders said: "I am convinced that the restoration of the rule of law in Poland will soon become a fact."

Reynders told reporters after the meeting that Poland's rule-of-law action plan was well received.

"This was very impressive for the Commission to listen to so many positive comments around the table," Didier said, as quoted by Reuters.

"The reactions are very positive," he added.

European Commission deputy head Věra Jourová said: I have a dream that still during my mandate the application of the Article 7 of the EU Treaty on Poland will be removed."

She added: "Today, the Polish government made an important first step with the Action Plan. We will assist now in implementing the plan to address the remaining rule-of-law concerns."

The European Commission says Poland's previous conservative government, which was in power from 2015 to 2023, brought the courts and judges under political control and undermined democratic checks and balances, Reuters reported.

As a result, the EU executive held back billions in funds intended for Poland.

Poland's new pro-EU Prime Minister Donald Tusk has pledged to restore judicial independence and persuade Brussels to release the funds.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters