Warsaw needs to widen its interpretation of the rule of law and respect rights
After pointing to overwhelming evidence of the deterioration of human rights and democracy in the country, MEPs voted on a report calling for further action by Member States and the EU Commission on Poland. Indeed, the Polish government has continued to systematically attack and discriminate against LGBTI people, women, journalists and judges, showing the need for a clear political response from EU institutions.
80 Polish municipalities are declared to be “free from LGBTI ideology” and womens’ rights are also under attack in the country. Moreover, during the pandemic, the Polish government backed legislation to further restrict and criminalise access to safe and legal abortion and denied access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Further, there is a growing tendency in criminalising defamation which is deteriorating freedom of expression for independent media and leading to self-censorship in fear of imprisonment. At the same time, reforms of the judiciary enable legislative and executive powers to interfere with the justice system, weakening the independence of the judiciary and the rights of judges.
Kostas Arvantis MEP (Syriza, Greece) says after the vote:
“We stand with all those in Poland who have been deprived of their basic freedoms and rights. We stand with all the judges who are facing persecution; journalists under attack; women and LGBTQI people who have to fight for their freedoms.”
“Since 2016, the Polish government has systematically attacked these groups, and this reaffirms, time and time again, why we need a clear political response from the Council and the Commission.”
Malin Björk MEP (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) said: “This is a clear message from the European Parliament to the Commission and to the Polish government.”
“We will not accept the deteriorating rule of law situation in Poland, whether it is the lack of independent courts, the attacks on the free media or the trampling of people’s fundamental rights, such as women’s rights or the LGBTI free zones.”
“ As the Article 7 procedure has proved ineffective, the next step now is to develop a rule of law mechanism that would stop any EU funding to any country, not just Poland, that doesn’t live up to the rule of law or basic democratic principles.”