“Business Constitution” in Poland: Government Propaganda Instead of Reforms

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License || Wikimedia Commons

The Law and Justice (PiS) government claims that the so-called “Business Constitution” is “the most important reform of Polish economic law for almost 30 years”.

The key goal of this document is to be the planned increase in the quality of making of business law and to improve the relations between public administration and entrepreneurs. There are five reasons why this is pure propaganda.

First, the very use of the word “constitution” is a sharp abuse by those who repeatedly violated the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. When the Constitution is neglected by the authorities, people lose confidence that it can be a guarantee of their rights. As a consequence, citizens trust ordinary laws labelled a “constitution” even less.

Second, the mere declaration that the “Business Constitution” will improve the quality of the creation of business law collides with the current legislative practice of the PiS government, which is characterized by hasty adoption of important legal acts, abuse of the deputies’ legislative initiatives (which do not require regulatory assessment and consultation), poor regulatory impact assessments and unjustified shortening of the duration, and lack of transparency of public consultations.

In light of this situation, it rings hollow when the PiS government, having reduced unprecedentedly the quality of law-making, announces that its bill will introduce high standards of the legislative process in business law.

Third, all of the general rules in the “Business Constitution” had been in force earlier. However, their application by courts and state offices is restricted by a myriad of detailed regulations, which in the legal system take precedence over general ones.

Therefore, the “Business Constitution” by itself will not solve the problem of improper application of the rules by officials.

Fourth, the “Business Constitution” is presented as a “key project of the Strategy for Responsible Development”, whereas in many places it repeats the solutions put forward in the previous term (by the Ministry of Economy led by Janusz Piechociński) in the draft of Law on Economic Activity, then labelled the “Constitution for Companies”.

It is worth adding that PiS deputies played a significant role in blocking the parliamentary proceedings on that project.

Finally, minor changes introduced by the “Business Constitution” that are beneficial for entrepreneurs do not solve the pressing problem of overregulation of the Polish economy, to which the current government significantly contributes.

Therefore, the whole propaganda related to the project is in no way justified.

This article is a summary of the analysis of “Business Constitution” published in Polish by the FOR Foundation.

Marcin Zielinski