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Belgium: EC VicePres stresses importance of Poland applying 'rule of law'02:43

Belgium: EC VicePres stresses importance of Poland applying 'rule of law'

Belgium, Brussels
January 13, 2016 at 14:42 GMT +00:00 · Published

Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, held a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, in which he commented on the Commission's view of the Polish government's amendments to the Polish Constitutional Court and its domestic media laws.

Answering journalists' questions, Timmermans said, "I'm simply looking at the measures taken and how they relate to the rule of law in Poland," stating that "I do believe in cooperation in this area, but I also believe in the commission’s responsibility as part of the treaty to make sure that the rule of law is respected across the European Union. And this has nothing to do with politics. It's pure and simple our responsibility under the treaty."

Timmermans said "the first stage [of the rule of law mechanism] is to assess the situation. And in assessing the situation of course we want to get the view out of Poland on how they see things. And after this, hopefully, productive dialogue, we can draw conclusions and then see whether we take it to the next phase with recommendations or we can close the procedure."

Poland has received widespread criticism in recent weeks over amendments to the organisation of the Polish Constitutional Court, as well as controversial media laws that allow the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to appoint the heads of state media broadcasters and civil service directors. The move sparked outrage among EU media watchdogs, who argue that Poland is jeopardising the freedom of the press. President Andrzej Duda signed Poland's new media bill into law on Thursday and it is due to come into force on Wednesday.

Belgium: EC VicePres stresses importance of Poland applying 'rule of law'02:43
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Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, held a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, in which he commented on the Commission's view of the Polish government's amendments to the Polish Constitutional Court and its domestic media laws.

Answering journalists' questions, Timmermans said, "I'm simply looking at the measures taken and how they relate to the rule of law in Poland," stating that "I do believe in cooperation in this area, but I also believe in the commission’s responsibility as part of the treaty to make sure that the rule of law is respected across the European Union. And this has nothing to do with politics. It's pure and simple our responsibility under the treaty."

Timmermans said "the first stage [of the rule of law mechanism] is to assess the situation. And in assessing the situation of course we want to get the view out of Poland on how they see things. And after this, hopefully, productive dialogue, we can draw conclusions and then see whether we take it to the next phase with recommendations or we can close the procedure."

Poland has received widespread criticism in recent weeks over amendments to the organisation of the Polish Constitutional Court, as well as controversial media laws that allow the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to appoint the heads of state media broadcasters and civil service directors. The move sparked outrage among EU media watchdogs, who argue that Poland is jeopardising the freedom of the press. President Andrzej Duda signed Poland's new media bill into law on Thursday and it is due to come into force on Wednesday.