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 – November

Topic of the month

Election Results

Poland and Hungary vetoed the EU’s historic EUR 1,8 trillion budget and Covid-19 recovery plan over attempts to link funding to respect for the rule of law and democratic norms. The Rule of Law Mechanism would give the European Union a tool for sanctioning violations of stated democratic principles by limiting financial instruments more quickly than is currently possible. Both countries are currently under EU investigations for undermining the independence of courts, media and NGOs. In other words, if the mechanism was approved, they would risk losing tens of billions in aid. Without agreement among all member states, projects financed by the seven-year budget will go without funds and the EUR 750 billion agenda to rebuild European economy will not be activated.

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Veto on EU Financial Package: EU Core Values Deserve Clear Message

Last Monday, Hungary and Poland blocked the EU’s historic financial package of 1.82 trillion euros. The right-wing nationalist governments of the two countries want to prevent the rule of law compliance conditionality in the distribution of EU funds. Meanwhile, the recently declared “State of Danger” in Hungary is being used by the government to amend the constitution again under the pretext of the Corona pandemic and to govern by decree. The new draft laws restrict the rights of LGBTI persons, undermine the transparency of expenditure of state funds and reduce the influence of opposition parties in the next parliamentary elections.

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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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Poland – Defending Women’s Rights

The Constitutional Tribunal in Poland has granted a request by more than 100 right-wing conservative MPs and declared abortions, even on account of severe foetal defects, to be unconstitutional. The ruling paves the way for a further tightening of the Polish abortion law, which is already one of the strictest in the European Union. In the future, abortion will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or a serious health threat to the mother. The court’s decision was met with intense objections from the opposition and society and triggered mass protests throughout the country.

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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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