President Andrzej Duda was asked about the issue of the rule of law in Poland and the conflict with the European Union in this matter. – Judicial reform is an internal matter for the Member State. The treaties forbid any interference in this respect, he said. In his opinion, “if anyone violates European law, they are violated by European institutions by attacking the democratically elected Polish government.”
President Andrzej Duda met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday. Later, they both appeared at a joint conference. The Austrian journalist asked President Duda “about the rule of law and the European context”. – Critics say that Poland is ready to accept money from the European Union, but is not ready to stick to the rule of law. What is your answer to this dump? she asked.
President Duda on the judges of the Supreme Court: we had no doubts that such people were unworthy
Duda admitted that President Van der Bellen asked him about the issue. – I told Mr. President what were the motivations for making reforms and changes in the Polish Supreme Court. I also pointed out that to the extent that I believed there was a breach of rules, I personally blocked the first laws that were passed on this matter, using the presidential veto right. Later I presented my own bills because I had no doubts that the reforms were necessary – he said.
He argued that “before 2015 we had pathologies in the Polish Supreme Court that the entire Polish society knew about”. He said that on the Internet you could listen to recordings of “conversations between judges, which clearly showed cronyism and corruption there, and simply dealing with court cases, in advance – the so-called – ordering of cases.”
In his opinion, this “found no answer in the Supreme Court itself”. – There were no criminal or disciplinary proceedings. Absolutely no consequence whatsoever. Although the entire Polish society can read these recordings of judges ‘conversations on the Internet so far, no consequences have been drawn,’ added Duda.
In his opinion, “this was one of the reasons why the Polish judiciary was dramatically low-rated by Polish society.” – Therefore, there was no doubt that the reforms were necessary. Especially since it turned out that the judges who sentenced people during martial law as executors of the communist repressive laws enacted against Polish society all the time adjudicate in the Polish Supreme Court. As well as judges who in the communist era in the Ministry of Justice, for example, were checking whether the norms introduced by communists, also the norms of the martial law criminal law are properly implemented by Polish courts, including the guidelines of the Central Committee of the Communist Party – he continued .
– In connection with the above, we had no doubts that this type of person is unworthy of being a judge any longer and we wanted them to simply retire, and we also wanted the disciplinary liability of judges to become real – he argued.
President: European institutions violate treaty law
Duda said that “reforming the judiciary is an internal matter of the member state”. – The treaties prohibit any interference in this regard, because the issues of the system of justice belong to the internal issues of each Member State – he pointed out.
– In essence, it is the European institutions that violate treaty law, attacking the Polish authorities and the Polish state, and accusing them of violating the principles of the rule of law. In my opinion, there is no breach of the rule of law here. If anyone violates European law, they are being violated by the European institutions by attacking the democratically elected Polish government, assessed the president.
Duda: the social assessment of the democratic majority is unambiguous here
Andrzej Duda also talked about “what is the social assessment of the activities of the Polish authorities after 2015”. – In 2019, the parliamentary majority that was elected in 2015 won the parliamentary elections again, gaining an independent majority for the second time, which has never happened since 1989, and in 2020 I won the presidential election for the second time. So the social assessment of the democratic majority is unequivocal here – he assessed.
– If we violated any rules that would harm the interests of Polish society, which people would perceive as oppression, neither the current and previous parliamentary majority nor I would win the elections. People in Poland are wise and exercise their democratic right to vote, just like in Austria. I explained this matter to the president in detail – summed up Duda.
Main photo source: PAP / Marcin Obara