Poland’s justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, has warned that Poland “cannot yield” to the European Union’s demands regarding the judicial system. If it does, it would “open the gate” to the imposition of same-sex marriage, abortion on demand and the euro.
The remarks, in an interview with Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, are very different in tone from his more conciliatory tone during the visit of European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová two days earlier, when as a “gesture of goodwill” Ziobro “proposed a compromise” with the EU on judicial reform.
“There is a war for the judiciary,” Ziobro told the radio station. “The opposition, together with the judge’s caste and the biggest players in the EU, are attacking us because we want to strengthen Poland.”
For decades, Poland has lived under a “judgeocracy” in which the judiciary ran its own affairs, said the justice minister. What is at stake now is “whether Poland and the mechanisms of democracy can control the process of appointing judges”.
“I have told [Jourová] clearly…that we will not agree to this sphere of power being taken away from the Polish state,” warned Ziobro. “We will not agree to being treated differently from other nations like Germany, the Netherlands and France.”
Ziobro claimed that when he proposed a compromise to Jourová on how to select judges, it was not well received by her, with the commissioner saying that it would still result in politicised courts.
The justice minister suggested to Radio Maryja that the Commission appeared to want to “impose” a system on Poland, then added:
If we agreed to this, then the same mechanism would function in other areas, such as the introduction of the euro, homosexual marriage, abortion on demand. We cannot yield here. This would mean the opening of a great gate through which our sovereignty would be stolen.
For background and the latest developments on the struggle over Poland’s courts, see our recent report:
Main image credit: P.Tracz/KPRM/Flickr (under public domain)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland and assistant professor of history at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, The Independent and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.