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Written declaration No. 641 | Doc. 14422 | 12 October 2017

Poland: unprecedented attacks on the rule of law and civil society organisations must be stopped

Signatories: Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Doris BARNETT, Germany, SOC ; Ms Anne BRASSEUR, Luxembourg, ALDE ; Mr Paolo CORSINI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Vanessa D'AMBROSIO, San Marino, SOC ; Mr Bernd FABRITIUS, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Marco GATTI, San Marino, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Pierre GRIN, Switzerland, ALDE ; Ms Gabriela HEINRICH, Germany, SOC ; Mr Andres HERKEL, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Ms Alice-Mary HIGGINS, Ireland, SOC ; Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Eerik-Niiles KROSS, Estonia, ALDE ; Ms Sabien LAHAYE-BATTHEU, Belgium, ALDE ; Mr George LOUCAIDES, Cyprus, UEL ; Mr Philippe MAHOUX, Belgium, SOC ; Baroness Doreen MASSEY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Cezar Florin PREDA, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Ulla SANDBÆK, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Mart van de VEN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC ; Mr Roger ZAVOLI, San Marino, FDG

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

The state of the rule of law in Poland is a matter of growing concern. The current parliamentary majority (created by the Law and Justice party) and the government have been undermining the independence of the judiciary. In December 2016, the Constitutional Court was deprived of the actual power of judicial review.

Large social protests in July 2017 resulted in the vetoing of two unconstitutional laws on the judiciary by President Duda. Regretfully, the law on common courtswas passed, subjecting the courts to the control of the Minister of Justice. New draft laws proposed recently appear to threaten the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary once again.

Civil society organisations critical of the State authorities (including the Committee for the Protection of Democracy, Citizens of Poland, Open Dialog Foundation, women’s rights NGOs) have been under pressure (including the use of police, surveillance and fiscal control) over the last months.

We call on the Polish government to restore the constitutional order and stop harassment of civil society.