Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party is trying to rewrite history — and it’s hurting Polish relations with the rest of Europe. Read more
Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party is forcing through judicial reforms that the Supreme Court’s president, Małgorzata Gesdorf, has said would “end” the Supreme Court and “break” the Constitution.
The changes are expected to be enacted next week after a parliamentary committee voted for the legislation on Thursday.
During a hearing, lawmakers from the ruling party rejected all amendments from the opposition, refused to hear independent legal counsel and ignored warnings from parliament’s own lawyers, who said the reforms might be unconstitutional.
Grzegorz Schetyna, the leader of the opposition Civic Platform, has called for demonstrations in the streets.
“This is no longer a creeping coup,” he told Polish television. “This coup begins to strike.” Read more
Remi Adekoya explains in Foreign Affairs how Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has been able to remain popular despite truncating democratic norms and institutions and antagonizing the EU:
- It has raised social spending, specifically for poor rural families with children.
- It portrays its domestic opponents as corrupt elites fighting to preserve their influence.
- It portrays its European critics as fanatical multiculturalists and militant secularists who are so obsessed with political correctness they have lost all sense of self-preservation. Read more
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party backed away from controversial press reforms on Tuesday after several nights of street demonstrations in the capital Warsaw.
The concession is a rare victory for the liberal-minded opposition, which has otherwise been unable to stop Law and Justice from reversing the last twenty years of Poland’s democratization and liberalization. Read more
Poland’s ruling conservatives have vowed to abandon the free-market approach of their liberal predecessors in favor of a more paternalistic economic program that experts warn will weigh down on growth.
In an interview with the Rzeczpospolita newspaper that was published under the headline “Farewell to Neoliberalism,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło’s deputy, Mateusz Morawiecki, said that economic policy should “serve citizens, employees, entrepreneurs and Polish families, and not statistics, numbers and percentages.”
The problem, argued Morawiecki — an economist who ran Santander’s Polish banking operation for eight years — is that the country has “to a huge extent” become dependent on foreigners. Read more
The European Commission has formally censured Poland’s government for endangering the rule of law.
In an opinion published on Wednesday, the EU executive says that constitutional reforms enacted by the right-wing Law and Justice party since it came to power last year are anti-democratic.
It is the first time in EU history that the commission has slapped a member state on the wrist for undermining democracy. Read more
Poland’s illiberal turn under the nationalist Law and Justice party is starting to damage the country’s economic prospects.
This weekend, the Moody’s ratings agency, which assesses the creditworthiness of states, switched Poland’s outlook to negative, blaming higher deficit spending and unpredictable public policy.
The International Monetary Fund agreed, warning that “downside risks” to the economy — Central Europe’s largest — have “intensified” in recent months.
Moody’s still considers Poland a reasonably safe investment. Its economy is diversified and has kept growing despite the upheavals in the neighboring eurozone. For a decade, it was the best-performing economy in the EU.
But the trend has been going the other way since Law and Justice returned to power last year. Read more