From Poland With Love – December

Topic of the Month

The Deal

“We have reached an agreement of a kind that, let me stress it, has accepted all of our preconditions that we have made,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki after the EU leader approved the EUR 1,8 trillion budget and Covid recovery plan. “We have a budget, together with the reconstruction fund, which means big funds for investment, big funds for supporting the development of Poland’s economy, for new technologies, for many goals that need to be implemented, especially now that we want to quickly come out of the pandemic. That’s important to us,” he added.

The new agreement still ties disbursements from the fiscal package to democratic and rule of law standards but such sanctions cannot be triggered before the Court of Justice of the EU has ruled on the legality of any nationally introduced measures. The Commission will refrain from implementing the legally binding rule of law mechanism while a member state challenges its legality at the CJEU. This is a process that can take years.

The new mechanism will also not come into effect until next year (after elections in Hungary).

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From Poland With Love – October

Topic of the Month

Poland On Strike

On October 22nd Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions for fetal abnormalities violate the Constitution, effectively imposing a near-total ban on abortion. Tribunal’s president Julia Przyłębska said that allowing abortions in cases of fetal abnormality legalized “eugenic practices with regard to an unborn child, thus denying it the respect and protection of human dignity”. She added that, because the Constitution guarantees a right to life, terminating a pregnancy based on the health of the fetus amounted to “a directly forbidden form of discrimination”. “The Tribunal maintains the position that human life is of value at every stage of development and should be protected,” said the court’s rapporteur, Justyn Piskorski. “A child in the prenatal period of life, as a human being who is entitled to inherent and inalienable dignity, is an entity having the right to life, and the legal system must guarantee the proper protection of this,” he added. The verdict cannot be appealed.

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From Poland With Love – September

Topic of the Month

Minks that Almost Stopped Polish Government

Who could have thought that it would not be the rule of law, free media, or LGBT issues but animal rights that have almost exploded the PiS government. In September, for the first time since 2015, Jarosław Kaczyński could have lost majority in the parliament. For the first time, there was a threat of a minority government. According to many commentators, real politics was finally back in the Sejm. But what really happened?

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From Poland With Love – August

Topic of the Month

Stop the Nonsense

Małgorzata Szutowicz, best known as Margot, who is a non-binary anarchist activist and one of the founders of the Stop Bzdurom (Stop the Nonsense) collective, was put in pre-trial detention for two months for acts of civil disobedience, including using a knife to cut the tires of a van that drives around broadcasting anti-LGBT messages, including a claim that “homosexuals are preparing society to accept pedophilia.” Such a detention is normally used in cases of serious crimes and dangerous criminals.

Currently Szutowicz is facing one more charge, of hanging a rainbow flag on a Jesus monument belonging to a church downtown Warsaw. Szutowicz’s lawyer said she could face up to two years in prison for offending people’s religious feelings “by outraging in public an object of religious worship”, as well as a fine or community service for the second crime of profaning a monument.

According to witnesses, the activist was forced to endure “transphobic comments and jokes” during her arrest. She was also set to be detained in a male facility and denied access to a lawyer. She has been publicly misgendered by the police and PiS politicians.

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From Poland With Love – July

Topic of the Month

5 More Years with Duda

Andrzej Duda has won the Polish presidential election by a wafer-thin margin. He narrowly beat Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski with 51,2% of the vote. Both candidates collected over 10 million of the votes, something that had been done only by Lech Wałęsa before. Turnout in the second round of the election was reportedly 68,2%, the highest of any presidential poll since the start of free elections in post-communist Poland.

Duda’s slim victory was very disappointing for the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party. Bearing in mind all the support the incumbent president got from the government, state television station TVP, state agencies and state owned companies, Jarosław Kaczyński expected a clearer victory and a green light for a series of new radical reforms. However, he received a clear signal that the support for his ideas is narrower that the power he actually has in Poland.

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