poland

Poland is open to dialogue with the European Commission

The response of the government of the Republic of Poland to the European Commission’s opinion from 1.06.2016 will be given with a sense of concern for the EU’s respect of the rule of law.

Concerned about the factual nature of the dialogue with the European Commission, the government of the Polish Republic is of the opinion that the response to the position of the European Commission needs to include the status of parliamentary work on the amendment of the legislation on the Constitutional Tribunal, when the work takes on substantial shape.

Poland invariably expresses its commitment to all the values ​​indicated in Art. 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and is open to dialogue in this area – also regarding issues pertaining to the rule of law.

The response of the government of the Republic of Poland to the European Commission’s opinion from 1.06.2016 will be given with a sense of concern for the respect of the EU rule of law, in particular the principle of the powers conferred (art. 5 in rel. to art. 4 para. 1 TEU) as well as the principle of sincere cooperation between EU institutions and Member States (art. 4 para. 3 TEU).

Poland, in line with the principle of sincere co-operation with EU institutions, wants to continue ongoing dialogue which was initiated with the exchange of correspondence in December 2015 and continued during the meeting of the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Commissioner Timmermans’ head of cabinet on 11 January, as well as during the subsequent exchange of letters and further meetings.

The decision by the European Commission on 13 January 2016 regarding the official form of organizing dialogue with the European Commission does not carry any legal implications for Poland. The dialogue between Poland and the European Commission continues regardless of whether the European Commission assigns a formalized structure for its own purposes.

In the context of frequent recourse by the European Commission to the procedure announced in the Communication from the European Commission on 11.03.2014 "The new EU framework to strengthen the rule of law", it should be emphasized that the only provision which enables the institutions of the Union control of the rule of law in the Member States, is Art. 7 TEU.

In reference to the observance of the rule of law we would like to remind that in line with art.5 para. 2 TEU, the EU shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States in the Treaties, which is why any powers that were not directly and explicitly granted to EU institutions, belong to the Member States (Art. 4, paragraph. 1 TEU).

There is no mention in the Treaties of the European Commission being given more powers to conduct the assessment or monitoring compliance of any Member State of the rule of law and other values ​​mentioned in Article. 2 TEU.

The Legal Service of the Council clearly stated (Opinion by the Legal Service of the Council from 27 May 2014 10296/14) that:

  • art. 7 does not provide a basis that would enable further development or changes to the procedure described in that provision (par. 18 opinion of the LSC ).
  • the " Treaties do not provide a legal basis, which would authorize institutions to create a new mechanism for the oversight of respect for the rule of law by the Member States, in addition to the provisions in art. 7 of the EU Treaty, nor do they authorize to change, modify or supplement the procedure specified in this article (par. 24 opinion by the LSC)

For the above reasons, Poland is of the opinion that in the light of the rule of law, including the principle of the competences conferred (Art. 5 TEU), the mechanism described in the communication by the European Commission regarding "A new framework for the EU to strengthen the rule of law", should be considered only as an internal procedure of the Commission, which as a result carries no legal obligation for the Member States.

Source: Poland MFA

15.06.2016