This opinion accompanies the ESI report “Under Siege: Why Polish courts matter for Europe”. It sets out the legal basis for the European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against Poland in respect of recent reforms to the disciplinary system for Polish judges.
In countries respectful of the rule of law the disciplinary system for judges is meant to uphold standards and prevent abuse. It does not do so in Poland. No other European democracy has a system like the Polish one. Nowhere else is there such a concentration of powers in the hands of one man.
Today there is an urgent need to defend key human rights norms, such as the bans on torture, on political imprisonment and on extra-judicial killings. Leaders in many countries are questioning these norms and the international treaties that protect them; in others they are violated with impunity. European democracies have an interest to send a strong message to human rights violators and the wider public that these actions remain wrong and shameful.
Negotiating with a pointed gun - Sanctions, appeasement and the role of Russia in the Council of Europe
Legislators in Strasbourg will be voting on changes to PACE’s powers to sanction the parliamentary delegations of states violating human rights, democracy and the rule of law. They will also be voting on something much bigger: the relevance and credibility of the Council of Europe itself.
The European Union urgently needs a credible policy on asylum and border management. It must combine effective control of external land and sea borders with respect for existing international and EU refugee law.
In February 2018 Viktor Orban gave a carefully crafted speech on the eve of recent Hungarian elections, appealing to (West) European leaders to "reverse" the presence of Muslims in their cities. No wonder that the first to congratulate Orban following his election victory in April were Europe's racist and far-right parties.
No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government has done. The Polish case is a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system, where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party, in an EU member state.
Daha önce hiçbir AB üyesi devlet, mahkemelerini yürütmenin denetimine Polonya hükûmeti kadar sokmadı. Polonya örneği, bir AB üyesi ülkede Sovyet tarzı bir yargı düzeni, yani mahkemelerin, savcıların ve hâkimlerin üzerinde denetimin yürütmeye ve tek bir partiye verildiği bir düzenin kurulup kurulamayacağının adeta bir denemesi.
The EU, and Italy especially, remains a magnet, as almost nobody who arrives is ever returned, regardless of the decisions of asylum bodies. The political debate returns like a pendulum to earlier experiences of agreements with North African states (Tunisia and Libya) as the only way to stop boats arriving.