The rule of law has “deteriorated” in Poland and Hungary, according to the EU Parliament. For years, the EU has been warning about eroding democracy in both countries. The latest flashpoint is over Polish judges; the EU Commission believes Warsaw is pushing forward laws to undermine judicial independence, while the Polish government argues it is simply getting on with much-need justice reforms.

Critics fear that Polish judges are being muzzled. A new law will punish judges who even criticise the government’s reforms, which include laws allowing judges to be censure based on the content of their verdicts or whether they refer cases to the European Court of Justice for preliminary rulings.

The EU Commission has brought Poland before the European Court of Justice over the issue. The Commission says it wants to protect judges from political control so that they can continue to make their judgements independently, which is a prerequisite for EU membership. Poland’s government, however, believes that judicial systems are a national issue and have nothing to do with EU rules.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Wiktoria, who says Polish citizens want a more harmonious relationship between Warsaw and Brussels. She believes Polish citizens definitely support the EU, but they also support the Polish government, and thinks the message to both should be: “build bridges and be constructive”. With a new EU Commission in place, is there an opportunity for improved relations?

To get a response, we spoke to Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz to ask how he would respond to Wiktoria:

To get another perspective, we also put Wiktoria’s comment to Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency, when we spoke to her at Friends of Europe’s State of Europe event in Brussels in October 2019. What would she say?

Will the new EU Commission have a better relationship with Poland? Do the Polish government’s judicial reform violate fundamental EU values or is that a domestic matter alone? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: Unsplash (cc) Toimetaja tõlkebüroo

10 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar

    They must have a completely different approach.

    • avatar

      Why is that? I did not even occur to you that what the EU Commission does is only a double standard and plain blackmailing to those countries where not a socialist/liberal government rules? I know for fact that in Hungary this entire crap they do with Article 7 threat is just a lie……….

    • avatar

      I see… Another “very tolerant” democrate.. I guess you are a communist type person…

    • avatar

      If you day so..

  2. avatar

    The rule of law has not deteriorated in Hungary nor in Poland. Already from start this entire conversation is framed in a dishonest manner. If you don’t abide by the ideas set forth by the Socialists, then “something illegal is happening”. The formerly Soviet Commintern would be so proud to see how the Western Socialists have internalized this totalitarian way of thinking. Appalling.

  3. avatar

    EU shall respect member States in their sovereignty.

  4. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    The question is how are judges held into account in each EU country? There are certainly mechanisms to contest verdicts that are considered unjust for whatever reason. Why is the focus only on the measures taken in Poland and Hungary? How is fairness of judging guaranteed in all European countries? Let’s see all of them, then we can decide who is violating and what they are violating.

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