1st European Commission recommendation on the rule of law in Poland

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On 27 July 2016 European Commission adopted a Rule of Law Recommendation on the situation in Poland, setting out the Commission's concerns and recommending how these can be addressed. The Commission believes that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland



This step under the Rule of Law Framework follows the intensive dialogue that has been ongoing with the Polish authorities since 13 January 2016. After the adoption of an Opinion on the situation in Poland on 1 June 2016, the Polish Parliament adopted a new Law on the Constitutional Tribunal on 22 July 2016. The Commission has assessed the overall situation, including in the light of the new law, and reaches the conclusion that even if certain of its concerns have been addressed by that law, important issues of concern regarding the rule of law in Poland remain. The Commission is therefore laying out concrete recommendations to the Polish authorities on how to address these concerns.

 

The Commission believes that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland. The fact that the Constitutional Tribunal is prevented from fully ensuring an effective constitutional review adversely affects its integrity, stability and proper functioning, which is one of the essential safeguards of the rule of law in Poland. Where a constitutional justice system has been established, its effectiveness is a key component of the rule of law.

 

The fact that the Constitutional Tribunal is prevented from fully ensuring an effective constitutional review adversely affects its integrity, stability and proper functioning, which is one of the essential safeguards of the rule of law in Poland. Where a constitutional justice system has been established, its effectiveness is a key component of the rule of law.

 

The Commission recommended in particular that Poland:

 

  • respects and fully implements the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal of 3 and 9 December 2015. These require that the three judges that were lawfully nominated in October 2015 by the previous legislature can take up their function of judge in the Constitutional Tribunal, and that the three judges nominated by the new legislature without a valid legal basis do not take up the post of judge without being validly elected;
  • publishes and implements fully the judgment of 9 March 2016 of the Constitutional Tribunal, as well as all subsequent judgments, and ensures that the publication of future judgements is automatic and does not depend on any decision of the executive or legislative powers ;
  • ensures that any reform of the Law on the Constitutional Tribunal respects the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal, including the judgments of 3 and 9 December 2015 and the judgment of 9 March 2016, and takes the Opinion of the Venice Commission fully into account; and ensures that the effectiveness of the Constitutional Tribunal as a guarantor of the Constitution is not undermined by new requirements, whether separately or through their combined effect;
  • ensures that the Constitutional Tribunal can review the compatibility of the new law adopted on 22 July 2016 on the Constitutional Tribunal before its entry into force and publish and implement fully the judgment of the Tribunal in that respect.

 



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Everything you need to know about the rule of law in Poland


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July 27, 2016

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