How to Protect European Values – Assessing European Responses to Recent Reforms in Poland

The European Commission announced its decision to further investigate whether the recent reforms of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal and Public Service Broadcasters are consistent with the rule of law, a common value of the EU. At the same time the Council of Europe´s Venice Commission investigates the reforms at the request of the Foreign Minister of Poland. Are the new mechanism and the evaluation by an expert body fit to protect European constitutional values?On 13 January 2016, the European Commission announced its decision to further investigate whether the recent reforms of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal and Public Service Broadcasters are consistent with the rule of law, a common value of the EU. The Rule of Law Framework, also meant to protect democracy and human rights, does not foresee binding measures or sanctions. Now activated for the first time, it rather provides for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the Member State. But is a visible, yet confidential dialogue bound to produce positive results? How is the Commission to operate the Framework in a cooperative, non-adversarial way? Shortly before, the Foreign Minister of Poland requested the opinion of the Council of Europe´s Venice Commission on the reforms of the Constitutional Tribunal. On 11 March 2016 the Venice Commission will adopt its opinion.

The forum will discuss the opinion of the Venice Commission and the new mechanism as an instrument to protect European constitutional values in a transnational legal space which is rife with constitutional crises, but short of instruments to address them. Aiming to contribute to an open public debate across Europe, the forum will be broadcasted live on Verfassungsblog.

Discussion participants:

Dr. Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights, Warsaw

Prof. Dr. Armin von Bogdandy, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Grabenwarter, Vice-President of the Venice Commission “Democracy through Law”, Judge at the Austrian Constitutional Court, Strasbourg/Vienna

Prof. Dr. Renáta Uitz, Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest

Moderator: Alexandra Kemmerer, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

 

Further informations: https://www.mpg.de/10330824/max-planck-forum-berlin-protecting-european-values-poland

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