04:26 GMT +315 December 2019
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    A Polish Uprising: The Underlying Reasons

    Level Talk with John Harrison
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    The signing into law of one of three contested bills restricting the independence of Poland’s judiciary by Poland’s President, will probably result in action from Brussels. Polish critics portray the President as bowing to the will of hostile foreign powers. What are the underlying reasons for this very serious situation?

    Remi Adekoya, a former political editor of the Warsaw Business Journal, and Magdalena Szmidt, a Polish lawyer and women’s rights activist participate in this program.

    Remi starts off the program describing that the implications of this new law mean that the justice minister, within the first 6th months, will be able to dismiss the president of any of Poland’s lower courts (the ones that most cases are heard in), without having to give any justification. “Because some of the presidents of these lower courts are going to be afraid of losing their jobs, they might be pliant to the political wishes of the ruling party or the justice minister, plus, [after the first 6 months] because the justice minister can now appoint presidents of these courts, there is a fear that these courts will be staffed with the minister’s own people. The fear is that all of Poland’s courts under the Supreme Court will be politicized from this day on,” Remi says. Magdalena concurs: “the separation of powers in Poland has now ended.”

    Why isn’t the EU doing anything?, is the next question. Magdalena says that Brussels will press for sanctions under Article 7, against Poland. “Brussels should press charges against Poland and Hungary simultaneously, striping us of our rights to vote,” she says, and continues that she does believe that the European Court of Justice will find a way to apply such disciplinary treatment. Remi describes the actual time periods and processes involved in implementing such actions, however host John Harrison raises doubts that anything will actually be done at all, given the complexity of the EU bureaucracy. Remi says that the Polish government has been abrasive in its actions, “they could have been more diplomatic,” he says, and this has upset the Brussels administration. Remi also says that “I believe the Polish government will take a step back.”

    Magdalena says that the Catholic Church is now wielding too much power, and says that she thinks that the Polish government is paying the Church. The role of the Church in Polish politics is discussed. “If you want to do something, fine, but don’t force it on other people,” she says.

    The involvement of the United States in this situation is touched on. “The US government has played a role in legitimizing the Polish government over the past two years… everything is being done to facilitate American investments in the energy section over the next few years… the Poles are being led to believe that a close relationship with the US is the best defense against Russia, that is what the Poles are being led to believe,” says Remi. Many other issues are discussed in this intense debate.

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    Tags:
    law, court, Andrzej Duda, Poland, EU
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