Open Letter to the General Affairs Council and Member States regarding the situation in Poland

first_img Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU Campaigns Dear Minister On 16 May, the General Affairs Council is set to debate the situation in Poland upon request from the European Commission. We are writing to call on you to act to protect the rule of law and human rights in Poland. Despite repeated warnings by the European Commission, the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), other international bodies and civil society organisations, the Polish government has continued on its course of undermining the rule of law, tightening its grip on media and backsliding on human rights protection. These actions violate the EU’s founding principles as enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). We therefore urge you to resort to the procedure laid down in Article 7 TEU and ensure Poland respects the principles on which the EU is founded. A year ago, we welcomed the Commission’s decision to activate, for the first time since its creation, the EU Framework to Strengthen the Rule of Law[1] (the Rule of Law Framework) and to engage in a dialogue with the Polish government on the legislative revisions impacting the Constitutional Tribunal and on the annulment of the appointment of several of its members. These revisions and the dispute on the membership of the Tribunal have undermined the Tribunal’s independence and reduced its ability to act as the fundamental safeguard of the rule of law in the country[2]. However, the Polish government has to date disregarded the European Commission’s recommendations, failing to provide a solution to these concerns. Instead, it selectively refused to publish and implement rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal and adopted additional legislation, which further exacerbates the problems identified. The changes impacting the Constitutional Tribunal are part of a wider sequence of actions undermining checks and balances and respect for human rights in Poland since October 2015. These actions have significantly expanded the powers of the executive at the expense of the judiciary, thus undermining the separation of powers, an essential component of the rule of law. Media freedom, freedom of expression and assembly, the right to asylum, the right to privacy and women’s sexual and reproductive rights have also been restricted. Although reforms have been met with a strong response by civil society, the government’s reaction to protests further confirms its resolve to silence critical voices and hold a grip on democratic counter-powers. In this context, we call on the Council to hold Poland to account for its failure to respect its obligations under the Treaties and to prevent the situation from further deteriorating. As the dialogue with the Polish government under the Rule of Law Framework has been inconclusive, it is time for the EU to move on to the next steps and take action under Article 7 TEU. Launching the Article 7 TEU procedure would send a strong signal to Poland and other Member States, as well as the public, that the EU is committed to ensuring compliance with the EU’s founding values and that it is ready to do what is needed to preserve them. It would also signal to civil society in Poland that the EU stands by its side in its fight for a society in which democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the other values protected under Article 2 TEU are upheld. We therefore urge the Council and Member States to conclude their debate on Poland with an official stance that condemns and proposes action to halt Poland’s backsliding from the EU’s founding principles as enshrined in Article 2 TEU. We in particular urge you to: Move ahead to the next steps and activate the procedure laid out in Article 7 TEU to address breaches by the Polish government of Article 2 TEU, in the next General Affairs Council session on 16 May; During the session, raise and condemn the many issues which threaten the rule of law, media freedom and human rights in Poland, as some Member States did recently during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)’s 27th session at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva; Adopt Council conclusions urging the Polish authorities to comply with the recommendations issued by the European Commission under the Rule of Law Framework and including further recommendations to the Polish government in order to address concerns; Commit to monitoring the situation in Poland, assessing progress and holding a follow-up discussion in the Council in the next three months; Commit to addressing developments in other Member States, which threaten the principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU. We look forward to your response and we stand ready to provide any further information you may require. Yours sincerely, AEDH (European Association for the Defence of Human Rights) Amnesty International FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) Human Rights Watch Open Society European Policy Institute Reporters without Borders [1] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law, COM(2014) 158/final 2. [2]These concerns have recently been confirmed by the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union in a statement which affirms that the Polish government’s interventions in court appointments ‘appear to indicate a threat to the independence of the Supreme Court as well as the Polish judiciary as a whole’ and that Warsaw’s actions ‘will not only have the effect of undermining the rule of law, but also mutual trust in the administration of justice.’Statement of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union on the Situation” in Poland, available at the following link: http://network-presidents.eu/sites/default/files/StatementPoland.pdf. RSF_en Receive email alerts /AFP January 28, 2021 Find out more May 12, 2017 Open Letter to the General Affairs Council and Member States regarding the situation in Poland May 10, 2021 Find out more Organisation News Help by sharing this information center_img to go further News June 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Poland News With firing of four editors, “repolonisation” under way in Poland PolandEurope – Central Asia Activities in the fieldMedia independenceInternational bodies Judicial harassmentEconomic pressureFreedom of expression Related documents ANNEX: RULE OF LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS IN POLANDPDF – 629.33 KB Poland’s new social media law puts freedom of expression at risk, RSF warns PolandEurope – Central Asia Activities in the fieldMedia independenceInternational bodies Judicial harassmentEconomic pressureFreedom of expression last_img read more

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County engineer says rural roads starting to improve

first_imgMASON CITY — Cerro Gordo County’s engineer says rural roads are starting to improve after a messy start to spring. Brandon Billings says the roads are starting to firm up as much of the region has been dealing with frost boils.“We’re going to be putting a little larger rock in, so be about an inch and a half inch or inch and a quarter rock we put in there. We’ll let traffic beat that in for a while and then we’ll continue putting regular surfacing on those spots. In the interim, with inch and a quarter rock is out, it’s going to be a rougher ride and louder in those spots for a short period of time, but it should help firm those up a little quicker since the bases are draining out and the roads are getting their structure back, so it should help those spots at least for this year. I’m not guaranteeing next year but it all depends on how the frost goes next year.”Billings says another item his office has been dealing with recently are reports of tile problems.  “There’s a lot of tile problems coming to light this year and some left over from last year, so it may be a thing where I’m going to look into getting outside assistance in getting some of those done. I can’t give you any more details on that at the moment because I have to figure out exactly how we’re going to handle that, but it is something I’m pursuing to help speed that along.”Billings made his comments during his weekly report during the county Board of Supervisors meeting.last_img read more

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Brilliant Burnage sends a message

first_img Click here for full scores Appropriately, his 11-under par score won the Michael Lunt Trophy, which celebrates the Walker Cup stalwart and 2005 captain of Walton Heath.  Third place at Walton Health with a six under par total of 282 went to 23-year-old Italian Philip Geerts. Former boy international Max Martin (Ladrook Park, Warwickshire) finished fourth, celebrating his 20th birthday last Sunday. “A round at Walton Heath was the best possible present,” he said. This is Burnage’s first 72-hole victory and his total of 277 represented fine scoring given the strength of the wind, the severity of the rain squalls and the clawing nature of the purple heather. England’s Jake Burnage sent a message to the Walker Cup selectors when he won the South of England amateur championship by a stroke at Walton Heath Golf Club, Surrey.  The 22-year-old will now focus on a second successful performance in the English amateur championship at The Berkshire next week. “My aim is to knock down the door with a sledgehammer this fortnight,” said Burnage, from Saunton, Devon, in reference to possible selection. 28 Jul 2017 Brilliant Burnage sends a message center_img In addition, in keeping with the tradition of the championship, the two courses had been stretched to their maximum lengths with tees located further back than even those facing hardened professionals in the annual US Open qualifying event. Burnage adds this success to his win the Hampshire Hog, a share of second place in the Brabazon Trophy and third place in the Lytham Trophy.  “I really went for the par putt because I knew that would reduce my handicap to plus-5,” he said. “The return putt did not bother me at all.” Burnage had shared the half-way lead with Jack Yule, 22, (Middleton Hall, Norfolk) who is a fellow member of the England A squad. Paired together and last out for both the third and fourth rounds, they duelled all day while the chasing pack kept their distance. The drama continued to the final hole where Burnage led by three standing on the last tee. He drove his ball into thick heather on top of a bunker and had to hack back onto the fairway. With Yule holing for a birdie three Burnage needed to two putt from 25ft for victory – but slid his first putt 4ft past, before safely holing out.last_img read more

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