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 Full text 
Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The ongoing threat for the Rule of law in Poland (debate)

  Terry Reintke, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, one thing is true. There is not only one way to build a democratic system; not all legal traditions in Europe are the same. But for all democratic systems there is a pre-condition, and that is that winning a majority does not mean that you can undermine rule of law and fundamental rights. I mentioned both of them, because actually both of these are currently under attack in Poland.

The independence of the judiciary and thus the separation of powers, which is the cornerstone of rule of law instead of the law of the ruler, but also fundamental rights, especially of those from whom they are most easy to be taken away. I believe that in our reply in the future on the discussion under the Article 7 procedure and the mechanism on the rule of law and also in the future debate, we should take both of these dimensions into consideration.

Poland is a country in the heart of Europe. Without Poland, this Union could never be complete. Polish citizens are indeed European citizens. So instead of blaming Brussels or the European Court of Justice or whoever they want for what is going on, the Polish Government should actually engage in an open and constructive dialogue to solve these very urgent and important problems. And I urge you, colleagues, to also bring this message to Poland.

Colleagues, no matter where you stand in this debate, what we have seen in smear campaigns, in hate campaigns, also against Members of this Parliament in Poland in the past month and years, is absolutely unacceptable. We can only engage in a democratic debate if we uphold the rights of, and respect towards, the other.

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