European Interest

EU values in Poland: MEPs concerned about continuous deterioration

flickr/European Parliament/CC BY 2.0

On Wednesday, Parliament took stock of developments in Poland, with many speakers calling for action to halt the backsliding on the rule of law and fundamental rights.

In a debate with Minister Anže Logar representing the Slovenian Presidency and Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas, MEPs called on the Council, the Commission, and EU member states to step up their efforts to stop the continuous deterioration of EU values in Poland.                                    Speakers representing a majority in Parliament referred to the latest worrying developments, in particular:

the 24 November ruling by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal that declared parts of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) incompatible with the Polish constitution, including Article 6 on the right to a fair trial;                                                                the de facto ban on abortion in place since October 2020 and the government’s recent proposal to oblige doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages in a centralised register – which could be in place as early as January 2022;
the issue of so-called “LGBTIQ-free zones”, which Parliament has long condemned; and
the lack of progress in ongoing Article 7 procedures and the Commission’s failure to act by activating the budget conditionality mechanism.

Others emphasised that the topics in question are within the country’s exclusive competence, that Poland’s sovereignty should be respected, and that the debate is another instance of the politically motivated attacks on the Polish government.

The Constitutional Tribunal ruling on the application of the ECHR in Poland followed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights declaring the election of its judges irregular, and rendered the bench unlawful. Parliament has also condemned the Constitutional Tribunal as illegitimate, and unfit to interpret constitution.

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