Debate at the European Parliament attended by Prime Minister Beata Szydło

“I strongly believe that my explanation will give new quality to the information about Poland. I’m convinced that it is the dialogue and understanding in which we will together build the future of the European Union” - the prime minister told the MEPs during the debate about Poland at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.


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Photo: P. Tracz / Chancellery of the Prime Minister

Thank you very much that today I can say something about Poland at the European Parliament. Thank you for creating conditions for - I hope - a matter-of-fact and good debate. It is very important to me to be able to dispel your doubts, if any, about the changes we are introducing in Poland – the prime minister told the MEPs.

Premier Szydło: the government is introducing a good change in Poland – it is citizens’ decision

The prime minister said that in a democratic election Poles decided that they want the changes proposed by the ruling camp to be introduced. It is the decision of Polish citizens – she emphasised.

Prime Minister Szydło explained that freedom, equality, justice and sovereignty are inalienable values to Polish citizens. It is the values for which Poles fought for long years and which we cherish above all (...), it in these values on the basis of which we chart the direction of our county’s development – she added.

It seems to me that the biased opinions which assess Poland, result only from the lack of sufficient information, or are expressed by those who demonstrate bad will. I also strongly believe that they are in the minority - Prime Minister Szydło said.

Prime Minister Szydło: We should build our community on the basis of trust

Us, Europeans, should build our community on the basis of trust, respect for diversity and building, as part of our diversity, the unity in the form of the EU. We have taken on this challenge, because the values of security and unity are dear to us. We know perfectly well that only the united Europe, strong with the strength of its member states, is able to deal with the challenges we face and about which all of us need to talk together – the prime minister emphasised during the speech at the European Parliament.

Beata Szydło said that Poles are open in order to support Europe in taking on challenges. She added that we are part of the united Europe, and it is a great value to us.

The prime minister of the Polish government pointed out that our ancestors spilt blood so that we can enjoy freedom today, and they also spilt blood for freedom of other nations. For years we fought for freedom and the possibility to build our own statehood. We have succeeded, and we will not allow anybody to take it from us – she emphasised.

Poles have chosen a programme which is, first of all, aimed at those citizens who are not better off after the years of transformation and EU membership – the prime minister said.

She added that numerous Poles have a feeling that they have been ignored in the transformation process. We want to build a Poland of freedom and equal opportunities. We want Poland to develop even faster – the prime minister said. She pointed out that the government’s programme includes solutions used in numerous EU countries.

The election and our citizens’ choice have obliged us to introduce the good changes we have agreed with Poles, and we have been implementing them since our government was created – the prime minister assured. She added that the demands which are expected to create the foundations of the Polish development have been fulfilled. We do it in compliance with law, respecting the  constitution, laws and EU treaties – she emphasised.

She pointed out that Poland feels it is a part of the European Union. We have been and will be a part of Europe, the Europe which develops, the Europe of equal opportunities. That is how we imagine Europe, that Europe will respect all Europeans – the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Szydło: I want to tell you about Poland, I want to clarify all doubts

I can see no grounds why we should devote so much time to Polish affairs, as there are many other important problems in Europe. I want to tell you about Poland, I want to clarify all doubts. I strongly believe that thanks to the good will we encounter here, we will be able to leave this debate being convinced that Poland is a strong and well-developing member of the EU – the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Szydło: changes to the Constitutional Tribunal comply with the standards applicable in Europe

Commenting on the doubts of certain commentators, Prime Minister Szydło emphasised that the Constitutional Tribunal is doing well in Poland. She added that just a few hours earlier it took one of its decisions.

The changes we have introduced to the Constitutional Tribunal comply with the standards applicable in Europe, and do not differ from the regulations used by other EU countries – Prime Minister Szydło explained.

She added that there was a need to change that act, because in June 2015 the former government coalition adopted an act which was deemed partially unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło pointed out that the Sejm majority had never striven to dominate the Tribunal. Our aim was only to ensure balance. We agree that 8 out of the 15 judges are indicated by the opposition – she said, adding that it is a change which radically differentiates us from our predecessors. We respect the opposition and its rights, we want dialogue and to solve problems together – the prime minister declared.

According to Prime Minister Szydło, the introduction of the rule that the Constitutional Tribunal should adjudicate when all of its members are present should not raise any doubts , because a similar rule is in force in certain other European Union countries.

Prime Minister Szydło pointed out that the nature of the current dispute about the Tribunal is political rather than legal.

Prime Minister Szydło: changes to the public media do not violate the European standards in any respect

The changes to the public media introduced by the parliamentary majority do not violate the European standards applicable to public broadcasters in any respect. What is more, the changes we have initiated are an attempt at restoring the genuine political neutrality and impartiality to the public media in Poland. We model the changes in question on the solutions used in numerous European Union countries - Prime Minister Szydło said.

She pointed out that the only aim of the changes in the media introduced by the government is to restore pluralism and equal access of all parties, as well as to introduce neutrality and reliability standards to them. Up to now numerous groups in Poland claimed that this impartiality, neutrality and objectivity are not exercised – the prime minister added.

The prime minister informed that the amendment of the so-called media act adopted at the beginning of January aimed at sorting out the owner’s supervision of the public media, which was not only at odds with the European standards, but also proved to be ineffective, leading to the financial collapse of the public media.

There was a need to separate the function of the media market regulator, i.e. the National Broadcasting Council, from exercising the owner’s competence of the State Treasury, which manifests itself in appointing the management boards of the entities which operate on the media market – Prime Minister Beata Szydło said.

She pointed out that the need to adopt such a model is clearly stated in the opinion of the Venice Commission of 2010.

Currently, the government is working on another amendment of the Broadcasting Act which assumes that a new organisational form will be granted to public broadcasters, and ensures their stable financing. We model the changes to the public media on the solutions used in numerous European Union countries - Prime Minister Szydło said.

Prime Minister Szydło: Government of the Republic of Poland is open to dialogue and debate

We want to build good changes for Poland in cooperation with all parliamentary groupings. We are open to solving Polish problems together. I think all of us find it important that Poland should feel the support of the European Union in these actions – Prime Minister Szydło said.

She added that the point is to make us feel that Poland, being a free and sovereign state, may always expect support, and that our sovereignty will be respected when it comes to decisions concerning our internal affairs.

Prime Minister Szydło: I’m ready to provide any information, and so are all members of my government

Poland is a beautiful country, Poles are a proud nation. We want to be a champion of the European Union. These are our dreams. These are Poles’ dreams. We waited for too long to  enjoy freedom, justice and sovereignty to abandon today these values, which are so important to us – Beata Szydło emphasised

I strongly believe that my explanation will give new quality to the information you have received about Poland. I’m deeply convinced that it is the dialogue and understanding in which we will together build the future of the European Union - Prime Minister Szydło concluded her first speech.

Reliable information about the situation in Poland

During the debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the prime minister also commented on the speeches made by the representatives the individual political groups. In all the speeches we could hear concern for the EU, its future and shape. Poland wants the EU to be stable and not shaken by crises. Poland does not trigger these crises, but wants to take an active part in pursuing the European policy – Prime Minister Beata Szydło emphasised during the second part of the debate.

The Polish prime minister thanked the European politicians both for the criticism and support.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło pointed out that in the statements made at the forum of the European Parliament there were not many questions about the media and Constitutional Tribunal. I believe it results from the fact that simply there is no problem, so there is nothing to ask about – Prime Minister Szydło said. At the same time, she added that the Tuesday discussion is a problem to her and everybody gathered at the European Parliament. I don’t agree for the European Commission to take such a decision towards Poland, but I’m open to providing information – the prime minister explained.

Discussion about Polish affairs in Poland

Currently, Poland does not deserve to be assessed by the European Commission, as neither human rights nor the principle of a democratic state in which the rule of law applies are violated in Poland – the prime minister argued. She added that the constitution is respected in Poland. We are a sovereign state and a free nation – the prime minister pointed out. What proves best that Poland is a democratic state is the fact that the Polish citizens who are here today can express their dissatisfaction during protests – the prime minister said.

Beata Szydło also argued that dispute is the basis of democracy, but Polish affairs should be solved at the Polish parliament.

She reiterated that the act on the Constitutional Tribunal need to be amended due to unconstitutional provisions. She also commented on the objections concerning the media law. The rules on which we build media in Poland are in force for example in Italy and other European countries. We don’t do anything which is not practised in other European countries – she said.

“Let’s do everything to make Europe a community of justly ruled countries“

The prime minister also commented on the migration problem. You are talking about migrants – it is a serious problem. Poland has admitted approximately one million refugees from Ukraine. People who nobody wanted to help. This is something we also need to talk about – Prime Minister Beata Szydło said. The prime minister also pointed out that she does not want anti-European sentiment to grow in Poland. Let’s do everything to ensure that Europe develops in peace, and is a community of sovereign, equal and justly ruled countries – the prime minister added.

End of the debate in Strasbourg

Concluding her speech at the European Parliament, Prime Minister Beata Szydło once again thanked for the debate, and emphasised that Poland is a democratic state in which the rule of law applies. Our discussion and our mutual dialogue bring us closer to the most valuable thing – to the value the EU represents – the prime minister concluded her speech in Strasbourg.

Before the Tuesday debate, the prime minister met European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

In addition, a meeting with all Polish MEPs took place at the invitation of Prime Minister Beata Szydło.


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