Venice Commission adopts 'controversial' report on Poland

16:27, 12 March 2016

The Venice Commission, an advisory group to human rights body the Council of Europe, on Friday adopted a report on an ongoing constitutional crisis in Poland that a senior Polish official described as "controversial," according to Radio Poland.


The commission, meeting in the Italian city of Venice, was expected to outline its report in a press conference at 16:00 CET, Radio Poland reported.

The commission visited Warsaw last month to probe whether democratic standards are being upheld, following an invitation by Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski.

In a preliminary opinion, obtained by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper recently, the commission said an ongoing constitutional crisis in Poland poses a danger to the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

After the commission adopted its full report on Friday, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski told reporters: "The key theses remain the same and this is a controversial opinion, in our view."

A crisis erupted in Poland following reforms of the country's Constitutional Tribunal pushed through in December by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, in the wake of its landslide general election victory several months earlier.

The crisis deepened this week when the Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday ruled that the changes were unconstitutional.

But the Law and Justice party claimed the tribunal's ruling was invalid, and the Polish prime minister is refusing to publish it, thus preventing the verdict from being binding.

Council of Europe chief Thorbjorn Jagland said on Friday on Twitter that he would visit Poland in early April. He added that the opinion adopted by the Venice Commission was the basis for holding a dialogue with Warsaw.

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