Poland: MEPs vote for launch of Article 7 following serious violations of the Rule of Law

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The European Parliament adopted a landmark resolution on Wednesday on the situation of the rule of law and human rights in Poland by a large majority (438 in favour, 152 against, and 71 abstentions). This resolution is a formal step to trigger the first stage of the procedure laid down in Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which can lead to the suspension of Poland’s voting rights in the Council of the EU. The Parliament voiced out concerns about separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and fundamental rights, including women’s rights. It also alerted against increasing restrictions to the work of civil society, which plays an essential role in a democratic state in ensuring public debate and accountability for public action.

FIDH campaigned vigourously in favour of a firm reaction by the EU to a continuous deterioration of the rule of law and human rights in Poland, up to the activation of the Article 7 TEU procedure. It welcomes the resolution, which represents an important step towards accountability for the Polish authorities’ repeated breaches of the EU’s founding principles as enshrined in Article 2 TEU, including the respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. FIDH urges the European Commission and Council to follow suit and halt the Polish government’s attack against those principles by activating the article 7 TEU procedure.

It is the second time in European Union history that the European Parliament decides to launch such a procedure against a member state of the European Union. The first time was against Hungary in May 2017. The procedure is still ongoing.

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