BFF-68 France, Germany slam Poland over court reforms

973

ZCZC

BFF-68

EU-POLAND-JUSTICE-POLITICS

France, Germany slam Poland over court reforms

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 16, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – France and Germany on Tuesday
condemned Poland for pressing ahead with controversial changes to its supreme
court despite EU calls for restraint.

Polish President Andrzej Duda last week appointed 27 new judges to the
court despite an EU challenge to Warsaw’s judicial reforms before the
European Court of Justice.

In a statement issued in Luxembourg, where EU ministers met to discuss
proceedings against Poland over alleged breaches to the rule of law, France
and Germany criticised the right-wing government in Warsaw.

“We are worried by the decision taken last week by the Polish president to
name new judges to the supreme court,” France’s Europe Minister Nathalie
Loiseau said.

“Despite our appeals, Poland has not waited for the rulings of the European
Court of Justice and has taken decisions which will be difficult to change.”

The move is a “grave threat to the independence of the judiciary in Poland,
which has consequences for our cooperation on justice and home affairs
issues”.

The EU first sounded the alarm over Polish judicial reforms shortly after
the Law and Justice party (PiS) won elections in 2015.

Brussels has since engaged in more than two years of talks, but Warsaw has
largely ignored warnings that the changes weaken democratic checks and
balances.

In December, Europe triggered unprecedented proceedings against Poland
under Article 7 of the EU treaty, citing “systemic threats” to the rule of
law.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said Tuesday he was
concerned that the situation in Poland was deteriorating rather than
improving.

It is a source of particular worry that Poland has not said whether it will
obey the ECJ. added Timmermans.

“Although I’ve asked repeatedly for clarification I still cannot get
clarity whether the Polish authorities will abide by the ruling of the Court
of Justice and this of course is a big cause of concern,” Timmermans said.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2149 hrs