Tag Archives: Poland

Poland can protect its judiciary without the EU

Source: Acton Institute
by Marcin Rzegocki

“Last month, the European Union took the first steps to invoke Article 7 of its constitution to punish Poland — but critics disagree about the underlying issue: to what extent the actions of the Polish government’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party undermine judicial independence and merit international condemnation. During the last month, both sides of the Atlantic have published a wave of articles about an alleged political crisis within Poland — particularly in anglophone outlets like the New York Times, The Washington Post, and so on. Many of the articles describing the current political situation in Poland present it from only the secular-progressive viewpoint and, thus, are already highly critical of PiS on other grounds, before condemning the judicial legislation.” (01/12/18)


The EU invokes Article 7 against Poland, but only Poles can defend their liberty

Source: Acton Institute
by Marek Tatala

“Poland is often compared to Hungary under Victor Orban. I personally wrote about the Orbanization of Polish politics two years before the Law and Justice took power. In Hungary, Orban won a supermajority in the parliament and, by changing the constitution, consolidated his powers, while speaking about so-called ‘illiberal democracy.’ Today, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who has never won a constitutional majority, follows Orban’s path — a harmful path for the Polish economy, the rule of law, and democracy. Victor Orban’s support for the Polish government is now the key to block any further steps mentioned in Article 7, as some of them require unanimous support. But even without these steps, the Polish government’s role in the EU will be marginalized. Undermining the Polish position in the EU is bad foreign policy, weakening our influence on EU rules and future reforms. But most importantly, the Polish government’s policies are bad for Poland.” (01/05/18)


EU triggers Article 7 versus Poland over judicial reforms

Source: Deutsche Welle [Germany]

“The European Commission has launched proceedings against Poland for breaching European common values and rule of law. While only a warning, Article 7 could lead to sanctions and a suspension of EU voting rights. The European Commission will suggest member states recognize that Poland’s judicial reforms seriously risk breaching the bloc’s common values. … Polish President Andrzej Duda rejected the EU’s rhetoric as lies and said its push to invoke Article 7 was driven by political motives.” (12/20/17)


Poland: Regime fines TV channel for not toeing government line on protests

Source: Hollywood Reporter

“TVN24, a Polish TV news channel owned by U.S. media giant Scripps Network Interactive, has been fined more than $400,000 by Poland’s media regulator over allegedly biased coverage of anti-government protests. Footage shot by TVN24 ‘failed to inform viewers that the [2016] December 16-18 protests held outside parliament were unlawful,’ Teresa Brykczynska, a spokeswoman for regulator KRRiT, said, and in so doing effectively urged ‘viewers to participate in illegal protests.’ TVN24, which is part of Polish TV group TVN that Scripps acquired in 2015 for $615 million in the largest ever U.S. media deal in Poland, is appealing the fine of 1.5 million zlotys ($414,000) imposed for a news report shot when a group of liberal opposition legislators occupied the Polish parliament last December in a protest by the ruling rightwing Law and Justice Party to ban journalists from covering proceedings there [sic].” (12/13/17)


Poland’s Sunday shopping ban: More cronyism than Catholicism

Source: Acton Institute
by Mikolaj Pisarski

“On November 24, the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, passed a bill that will gradually phase out Sunday shopping resulting in an almost-complete ban in 2020. The bill was passed with the votes of ruling Law and Justice Party and a majority of Kukiz ’15 movement MPs, despite previous warnings issued by many Polish free-market think tanks for more than a year. The bill is promoted as a proof of adherence to Poland’s Catholic tradition. Nevertheless, its many loopholes expose it as yet another way to secure the political support of the powerful Solidarity trade union. In its current iteration, the bill allows more than 30 exceptions, mostly discriminating against large shopping centers. This fits well with the mentality of the Law and Justice government, which sees large chain stores as a threat. The religious motivation was at best tertiary. But the cost, as usual, will be paid by consumers.” (12/12/17)


Poland: Duda unexpectedly vetoes parts of court revamp

Source: Bloomberg

Poland’s president vetoed part of a controversial overhaul of the judiciary that’s brought tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets and pitted the nation’s government against its partners in the European Union and the U.S. Going against the ruling party which backed his presidency, Andrzej Duda struck down bills that would have replaced Supreme Court judges and revamped the Judicial Council that makes key personnel decisions. Protests have been held for eight days amid anger the reforms would curb courts’ independence. The EU threatened sanctions if the reforms take effect.” (07/24/17)


Poland: US escalates Russia tensions with troop deployment

Source: Belfast Telegraph [Ireland]

“Polish leaders are holding a welcome ceremony for the biggest deployment of US troops to Europe in decades. The ceremony on Saturday in the western Polish town of Zagan comes 23 years after the last Soviet troops left the country. Russia called the deployment a threat to its own security. The move also marks a new historic moment — the first time any Western forces are being deployed on a continuous basis to NATO’s eastern flank.” (01/14/17)