The Polish government, elected in October 2015, has introduced several reforms including changes to the composition and voting of the Constitutional Tribunal, increasing State control over public media and increasing the scope of investigative powers by the police. There are further plans to reform of the Polish civil service.

The reform of the Constitutional Court, in particular, has caused concerns over the violation of the principles of the separation powers and checks and balances. It has resulted in an outcry from the EU institutions and numerous international organisations as well as public protests against the proposed changes.

Both the Polish Bar Council and the National Council of Legal Advisors submitted their comments and pointed out serious breaches of the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and the unconstitutional nature of other provisions, notably those concerning procedural matters.

European Commission’s President and Vice-President, Jean-Claude Juncker and Frans Timmermans, have also expressed their concerns to the Polish government and asked for clarification of the new legislation.

It remains to be seen whether the pressure exerted on Poland internationally, even if only reputational, will bring the expected results.

Read more about the debate at the European Commission, the European Parliament and what the EU’s new Rule of Law Framework sets out.