It is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who is to defend the Law and Justice (PiS) government against the consequences of violations of the rule of law in Poland. These violations have led eventually to the reactions set out in the EU treaties. The Polish ruling party can blame only itself.
Indeed, binding European funds with clear commitments from recipient countries sounds like a good idea. The big problem of a number of European policies and institutes is precisely the lack of an enforcement mechanisms, for example real penalties, which could help as a correction to a “misbehaving” member state.
On July 26, 2017, Marek Tatala, Vice-President of the Civil Development Forum, spoke at the U.S. Helsinki Commission briefing about democracy in Central & Eastern Europe, which was organized in Washington D.C. In his speech, Tatala emphasized challenges to democracy and rule of law in Poland, including independence of judiciary.
In January 1982, after the martial law was introduced, Professors of the Warsaw University Tomasz Dybowski, refused to shake hands with Professor Sylwester Zawadzki – the then Minister of Justice – addressing him in the following manner: “for me, you are no longer a professor”. Now, it is high time to bring such gestrures back.
With the president who is not willing to perform his duties as the guardian of the Constitution, it seems that it is thanks to the EU membership that there is still a kind of a safety net for Poland. Joining the EU back in 2004 now, in the light of the government that has set out to question the basic principles of European democracy, may prove a real lifesaver.
This article tries to move from criticism to a constructive debate about the causes and possible solutions of problems in the Slovenian justice system. It highlights proposals for an organizational and ethical transformation of the Slovenian judiciary toward a stronger rule of law — not rule of men — which would maintain or even increase freedom for Slovenian citizens as well as their protection from abuses by the state.