MFA statement on Poland’s response to European Commission

Today Poland has communicated to the European Commission its response to the non-binding complementary Recommendation of 21 December 2016 regarding the rule of law in Poland. In it we have stressed that consolidating a democratic rule of law in Poland, including establishing stable grounds for the operation of the Constitutional Tribunal is the overriding goal of Polish authorities. Hence, any suggestion that improves the operation of the constitutional court is openly welcomed.

In its response, Poland has provided substantive explanations with regard to the objections raised by the European Commission. In Poland’s assessment, the amendments recently adopted by Parliament concerning the operation of the Constitutional Tribunal, including, in particular, the Act regarding the organisation and proceedings before the Tribunal of 30 November 2016, the Act on the legal status of judges of the Constitutional Tribunal of 30 November 2016 and the Act of 13 December 2016 – regulations implementing these two laws comply with European standards regarding the functioning of constitutional courts. These two laws regulate in a comprehensive and final way the subject matter of the system and operation of the Constitutional Tribunal, taking into account a number of recommendations made by the Venice Commission regarding Poland.  We have emphasized, in particular, that the appointment of a new President of the Constitutional Tribunal by the President of the Republic of Poland on 21 December 2016 and the entry into force of the aforementioned new legislative regulations have created the proper conditions for the Constitutional Tribunal to be able to operate normally. Poland hopes that from now on all acts taken by the Constitutional Tribunal will comply with the applicable law.

At the same time Poland would like to recall that in the spirit of sincere cooperation between a Member State and the European Commission it has been communicating substantive explanations concerning the situation in Poland for over a year now. The dialogue with the European Commission should abide by such principles as objectivism, respect for sovereignty, subsidiarity and national identity. Recent comments by Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, in which he calls on other Member States to form a common front with the European Commission against Poland, are a flagrant violation of these principles. Poland interprets the actions and comments made by Frans Timmermans as politically motivated and serving to stigmatise one of the Member States. We call on the Vice-President of the European Commission to stop such acts.

Poland has once again emphasized that the existing political dispute over the rules governing the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal cannot be used as grounds for arguing that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.

Poland hopes that the explanations provided in its response to the complementary Recommendation will be thoroughly analysed by the European Commission and will be accepted by it with understanding.

MFA Press Office