MEPs passed a non-binding resolution on Wednesday (13 April), calling on the Polish authorities to restore the ability of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal to uphold its Constitution and guarantee respect for the rule of law.
The vote comes against the background of the unprecedented decision by the European Commission to start a potentially-punitive process aimed at buttressing democracy and rights in the 28 EU states.
The resolution, passed by 513 votes to 142 with 30 abstentions, wraps up a plenary debate held in January after the European Commission decided to start an inquiry under the Rule of Law framework into reforms of the Polish Constitutional Court.
MEPs say that actions taken by the Polish government, led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) and the President of the Republic of Poland, have led to the effective paralysis of the Constitutional Tribunal which poses a danger to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They urge the Polish authorities to publish and implement without further delay the rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal in line with the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.
The European Parliament supports the European Commission’s efforts to find a way out of the current situation through a dialogue with Poland’s authorities. However, if the Polish government fails to comply with the recommendations, MEPs want the European Commission to activate the second stage of the procedure under the “framework for addressing systemic threats to the rule of law”, initiated on 13 January.
MEPs stress that all steps taken with regard to Poland must respect the subsidiarity principle but also reiterate that the values and principles enshrined in EU treaties and international human rights instruments must be upheld by the EU, and by each individual member state, in all their policies.
First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, was optimistic after a series of meetings with the Polish government held last week. Yet Poland will continue to be monitored under the Rule of Law Framework.