Following the news that the European Union has threatened to trigger Article 7 against Poland if currently tabled judicial reforms are passed into law, Iverna McGowan Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office said:
“Triggering Article 7 would be an unprecedented move, and the strong message sent by the EU today that it is close to making that step is a welcome demonstration of the seriousness with which it’s taking the assault on judicial independence in Poland.
“The Law and Justice Party’s ongoing efforts to dismantle Poland’s system of checks and balances is at a critical phase. The prosecution service and the Constitutional Tribunal of the country’s justice system is already under the political control of the government. Successful passage of these current reforms would amount to a wholesale political takeover of the judiciary. The consequences of this for the future integrity of Polish justice are far reaching and deeply concerning.’’
“While this is a positive development, the EU, including its member countries, must prove it’s not an idle threat by making good on its words if Poland chooses to continue down its current path.”
Article 7(1) of the Treaty of the European Union allows the European Council to issue a warning to member states where there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of the respect for the rule of law and human rights.
On 18 July, Amnesty International delivered a public statement on the proposed amendments to the judiciary in Poland. It can be accessed via the link below:
Poland: Three amendments that seriously undermine the independence of judiciary – July Update