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Minister Häkkänen: Breach of the rule of law must not be allowed in EU

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 20.12.2017 16.24 | Published in English on 21.12.2017 at 10.52
Press release

The European Commission decided yesterday on new measures to be taken to defend the rule of law in the European Union. The Commission concluded that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland. The Commission is therefore proposing to the Council to adopt a decision under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union. This could even lead to Poland losing its voting rights in the Council of the European Union.

The Commission has also issued a Rule of Law Recommendation, setting out clearly the steps that the Polish authorities can take to remedy the current situation.

The Finnish Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen welcomes the Commission’s proposals for measures. The rule of law is one of the most important core values in Europe and breaching it jeopardises the realisation of citizens’ fundamental rights.

“The EU must defend the implementation of the rule of law in a credible manner, and we must not let the situation progress any further. The Commission and the Member States must act early enough,” Häkkänen says.

Häkkänen emphasises the fact that the rule of law protects citizens’ rights and prevents arbitrary use of powers by the government and excessive concentration of powers. 

“History shows that the collapse of the rule of law may lead to catastrophes. Stable and transparent institutions of states governed by the rule of law have contributed to the building of peace, stability and wealth across Europe. Therefore, we must not yield an inch to those who question the rule of law,” Häkkänen says. 

The Commission is proposing measures against Poland, because Poland has in recent years adopted several laws that are considered to have resulted in a lack of judicial independence at Polish courts.

“An integral part of the rule of law is that courts can make their decisions independently, free from political pressures. We have criticised countries outside Europe for this, and now we must set an example and show that our own affairs are in order,” Häkkänen says.

Inquiries: Lauri Koskentausta, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 50131

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