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The motion in favor of adopting the resolution was signed by the Christian Democratic and Social Democratic factions, the Greens, the Nordic Left, as well as the Renew Europe Group. It was supported by a total of 502 MEPs. 149 opposed it, and 36 abstained.
The entire text of the resolution can be accessed here.
The Disciplinary Chamber for judges is not compatible with EU law
In the document, we read that the EU Parliament is "deeply concerned by the fact that the Polish authorities recently have deliberately and systematically violated the rule of law-related judgments and orders of the CJEU". Moreover, MEPs urge Polish authorities to "comply with the various CJEU and European Court of Human Rights rulings regarding the composition and organisation of the illegitimate ‘Constitutional Tribunal’ and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court in order to comply with the standards of judicial independence that Poland committed to".
The practice of "harassing judges who are critical of the Polish government" is condemned as well. In this regard, the EU Parliament calls on Polish authorities to suspend the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and reinstate all judges removed from their positions as a result of the Chamber’s decision.
MEPs: Poland is bound to respect the primacy of EU law
MEPs recall that by signing the Treaty of Lisbon, Poland - like all other EU member states - agreed to accept the primacy of EU law over national law. Therefore, they write, "any attempt to undermine this principle" should be denounced.
The Parliament also calls on the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki "to question the primacy of EU law over national legislation and to withdraw his motion, pending before the illegitimate ‘Constitutional Tribunal’, to review the constitutionality of certain parts of the EU Treaties". In a similar vein, it asks the Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro to "withdraw his motion before the illegitimate ‘Constitutional Tribunal’ related to the constitutionality of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights".
Moreover, according to the signatories who cite the Venice Commission’s recommendations, Mr Ziobro should cease to combine his function as the Prosecutor General with the duties of the Minister of Justice.
EU Parliament: the rule of law situation in Poland is deteriorating
It is not the first resolution of this kind. On September 17, 2020, the European Parliament also expressed its concern over Poland’s legislative and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary, and the state of fundamental rights. In the resolution passed on Thursday, the Parliament "regrets the lack of progress and the deterioration of the rule of law situation in Poland since its resolution of 17 September 2020, and that the recommendations thereof have not been taken into consideration by the Polish Government".
The resolution also "calls on the Commission and the Council to carefully analyze every measure outlined in the draft Polish Recovery and Resilience Plan and to only approve the plan if it is established that the Polish authorities have implemented all CJEU rulings".
Concerns about media freedom
-The European Parliament criticizes in the strongest possible terms the so-called ‘Lex TVN’ draft bill adopted by the Sejm; it believes it is an attempt to silence critical content and a direct attack on media pluralism, and that it also violates fundamental rights under the Charter and the Treaties- write the authors of the document, referring to the ruling camp’s controversial draft amendment to the Polish Broadcasting Act.
Further, referring to the acquisition of the Polska Press media group by the state-controlled oil giant PKN Orlen, the MEPs also express their "concern about the further deterioration of media freedom in Poland and the different reforms put in place by the ruling coalition in order to reduce diversity and critical voices within the media".
Attacks on women’s rights and discrimination against LGBTQ people
The issue of Poland’s so-called "LGBT-free zones" also didn’t go unmentioned. MEPs urge "the state, local and regional authorities of Member States to halt all cooperation with the Polish authorities declaring ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’", calling on the Commission to "continue rejecting EU funding applications by authorities who have adopted such resolutions".
The Polish government is also criticized for draft changes to the law on education, efforts to "criminalize the dissemination of sex education in Poland" and for systemic "attacks on women's rights". On the other hand, Poland was praised for appointing a new Commissioner for Human Rights.
Respect for the rule of law as a condition for receiving EU funds?
The European Commission is considering to include some of the elements of the July CJEU rulings obliging Poland to respect the rule of law into the National Recovery and Resilience Plan as one of the "milestones".
The realization of specific "milestones" in areas such as climate or digital policy is a condition for receiving funds from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility. Including the condition into Poland’s national plan would potentially allow to approve the plan without having to wait several months for the Polish authorities to implement the CJEU rulings.
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