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 Full text 
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Poland (debate)

  Roberta Metsola, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, Poland’s place is at the very heart of the European Union. Poland is the beating heart of Europe. Poland joining the European Union meant that we could start to move past five decades of historical division and suppression. It meant hope for Poland and hope for Europe. Polish citizens are European citizens, just as Polish judges are European judges.

Being a Member State of the European Union is about both rights and responsibilities. It is both give and take. We share history, and we must share a future, and it is because of that shared future that we cannot be silent when the rule of law is under threat in Poland or anywhere. We cannot be silent when an electoral majority is used as an excuse to justify the unjustifiable. We cannot be silent when Polish justice is put under threat, and we will not be silent. The term ‘rule of law’ is not a phrase bandied about that means nothing. It means freedom; it means equality; it means rights. Ultimately, it means Europe. Without the protection of the rule of law, our Treaties risk becoming nice words printed on expensive paper, and without a truly independent judiciary, there cannot be rule of law.

Before this is spun as a partisan manoeuvre, let me be absolutely clear: standing up for the independence of judges to perform their function without fear or favour is not an attack on the Polish state, or far less on the Polish people. It is about protecting the European way and about protecting the people of Poland.

Finally, let me salute the courage of the Polish judges who are with us here today.


We will not let you down. We will not let Poland down. We will not let Europe down.

(Sustained applause)

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