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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Gov’t spokesman slams Council of Europe criticism of Polish judicial reforms

29.01.2020 12:14
A Polish government spokesman has slammed a Council of Europe resolution critical of judicial reforms in Poland as the latest instalment of a repetitive “soap opera”.
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Pixabay License Image by succo from Pixabay

Piotr Müller told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Wednesday: "The Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament - they are all repeating the same false information, which, unfortunately, is very often suggested to them by our colleagues, opposition parliamentarians who are in these bodies."

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared in a resolution on Tuesday that recent court reforms by Poland’s ruling conservatives which have been criticised at home and abroad “severely damage the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law”.

'These are not objective assessments'

Müller said: "It makes me sad to see this because I know that these are not objective assessments, and if the same assessments had to be made in other European countries, it would suddenly turn out that allegedly there is no democracy in the entire EU.”

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) announced on Tuesday it had voted to open a monitoring procedure for Poland over the functioning of its democratic institutions and the rule of law.

In a resolution, the assembly said reforms of the judiciary and justice system in Poland “cumulatively undermine and severely damage the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.”

Challenge to 'the very principles of a democratic state' 

The parliamentarians added the Polish judicial system was now “vulnerable to political interference and attempts to bring it under the political control of the executive, which challenges the very principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law”.

Poland’s parliament last week voted through new rules to discipline judges, dismissing claims by critics that the legislation could undermine judicial independence and allow the government to gag dissenters.

The European Commission has asked the EU’s top court to freeze new Polish rules that seek to discipline judges critical of government changes to the judiciary.

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

Poland’s prime minister said last year that some of the legal changes made by his conservative government have met with criticism abroad because they are not understood in Western Europe.

The Council of Europe, which was founded in 1949, aims to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law in its 47 member states. The organisation includes all 28 members of the European Union.

(pk)

Source: PAP