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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Poland Claims Judicial Reforms Needed Because of Communist Legacy

BERLIN Ė Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday he was sure his country would convince other European Union member states that Polandís judiciary system needed deep reforms due to its communist legacy.

Speaking at a press conference alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, Morawiecki said the much-contested reforms were needed as several judges had been in their posts since the country was a satellite state of the Soviet Union.

On Wednesday, the European Commission warned that the proposed reforms risked Polandís rule of law and that it could trigger Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which would see Warsaw without a right to vote in the European Council.

The reforms, which the EU denounced would allow the government to interfere with the judiciary, had led to widespread protests across the country, where people took to the streets several nights in a row to voice their anger after another draft law was approved, the 13th piece of new judiciary-related legislation to be passed in two years.

The Prime Minister said that after the end of communism in eastern Germany, only 35 percent of active judges were able to meet the new standards that were set and could continue working.

He said Poland never established any similar verification process and therefore judges that worked under martial law, the communist period and the Stalinist period were able to continue working within the judiciary system.

According to Morawiecki, the rest of the EU would soon see why the reforms were needed.

May insisted that Europe was committed to the rule of law and praised her Polish counterpartís willingness to speak with the Commission.

She said she hoped that would lead to a satisfactory solution.

The two leaders signed a defense cooperation agreement that would allow their countries to counteract Russian misinformation campaigns in eastern Europe and Moscowís attempts to use information as a weapon.

 

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