A Risk to the Rule of Law Still Alive: Commission Issues Recommendations for Poland

Written by | Friday, July 29th, 2016

The European Commission on Wednesday (27 July) issued a series of recommendations to the Polish government, urging Warsaw to instill the rule of law in the country as one of the common values upon which the European Union is founded. This move followed on the intensive dialogue that has been in place since January this year.

The Polish Parliament has recently adopted a controversial law on the Constitutional Tribunal and the Commission maintains that certain areas of concerns still remain and have not yet been addressed. Brussels is convinced that there is a systematic risk to the rule of law in Poland as the Constitutional Tribunal is prevented from fully ensuring an effective constitutional review adversely affecting its integrity, stability and proper functioning.

The Commission has in particular recommended that Poland respects and fully implements the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal of 3 and 9 December 2015, which requires 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.

The EU executive further recommends Warsaw to publish and implement fully the judgment of 9 March 2016 of the Constitutional Tribunal as well as all subsequent judgments to ensure that the publication of future judgments is automatic and does not depend on any decision of the executive or legislative powers. Moreover, Brussels wants to make sure that any reform of the Law on the Constitutional Tribunal respects the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal. While the Commission wants to continue pursuing a constructive dialogue with Poland, in case there is no sufficient follow-up on these recommendations, Brussels is ready to trigger Article 7.

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