Lower House Speaker addresses Dutch counterpart over rule of law

Elżbieta Witek, the Speaker of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, sent a letter to Khadija Arib, the speaker of Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, in which she expressed “astonishment” and “disappointment” over the resolution calling on the government of the Netherlands to sue Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

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On December 1, Tweede Kamer adopted a resolution calling on the government in the Hague to sue Poland to the CJEU because of the non-compliance with the ruling of the CJEU concerning the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court (SN).

According to the Polish Press Agency, Ms Witek emphasised in the letter the importance of the Polish-Dutch relations, both within the EU and NATO, and in this context she expressed her “astonishment” and “disappointment” over the adoption of a resolution calling on the Dutch government to file a complaint against Poland to CJEU.

“I think it is a serious blow to our hitherto good bilateral relations, as well as a violation of the rules on which international relations are based. The foundation of these relations is the principle of respecting national sovereignty, as enshrined in the declaration of the United Nations,” Ms Witek told a briefing on Tuesday.

She added that it is “incomprehensible” that a democratically-elected parliament of one country questions the legitimacy of parliament and state institutions of another.

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“Anyone who questions the legality of these organs shows disrespect to our citizens and to the voters who have decided, not once but twice, to whom they want to entrust the government of our country,” Ms Witek said.

She also stressed that the Polish parliament and other authorities have refrained from criticising publicly the decisions of the Dutch institutions, even in reference to issues arousing “deep concern” such as “farming practices similar to tax havens” and “violating the financial solidarity of the EU.”

The Speaker of the Sejm also expressed concern over “lack of efficiency” in the Dutch fight against human trafficking, the victims of which are often women from Central-Eastern Europe, including Poland.

Ms Witek also wrote that Poland refrains from judging the judiciary systems in other EU Member States, because their organisations are not regulated by the Union’s law. She added that the rules of nominating judges in Poland, and disciplinary procedures, do not violate the independence of the courts and do not differ from the systems of other countries.