: European Commission: 'Room for dialogue' over Poland's constitutional crisis
Politics12:03 Apr. 6, 2016
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European Commission: 'Room for dialogue' over Poland's constitutional crisis

The Law and Justice party has cracked down on media and the courts since taking power last October

Poland's constitutional crisis can be solved through dialogue and without further intervention from the European Commission.

That's according to Frans Timmermans, the Commission's first vice president. He spoke to reporters in Warsaw, after talks with Poland's foreign minister and Constitutional Tribunal president.

Frans Timmermans, European Commission First Vice President: "As I said before -- and I said it indeed also to the members of the Polish government - the European Commission is of the opinion that applying the rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal is a starting point for the dialogue to find a solution to this problem."

Read also Poland's president squanders EUR 165K on private flights home: Newsweek

Frans Timmermans, European Commission First Vice President: "The starting point of any discussion should be the existing constitutional order, and then you can change that order, you have the full right to do that, you have... The constitution tells you how you should do that, but you can't remove yourself from that order and then say, use that as a starting point, in my view, for this dialogue." 

The E.U. has heaped pressure on Poland's eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party for reigning in freedoms of the media and the judiciary in recent months.

Read also Thousands take to streets in Poland in support of Constitutional Court

Particularly in focus is the Constitutional Tribunal. The conservatives enacted a law increasing the number of judges and changing the order in which cases are heard.

Critics say the changes have made it difficult for judges to review new legislation, let alone challenge it. The court itself has struck the new laws down as unconstitutional. The government has refused to recognise that ruling, effectively putting it in legal limbo.

 

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