Solidarity with Protesters in Poland

The Hungarian Europe Society expresses solidarity with all Poles protesting against recent steps by the Polish government limiting democracy in Poland.

Declaration of the Hungarian Europe Society. Please find the Declaration in Polish here.

We are concerned about the measures which are meant to bring the Constitutional Court and the public media under the exclusive control of the Law and Justice (PiS) party led government. 

PiS is attempting to invalidate the mandate of five judges appointed by the previous Sejm – including both the two controversially and even the three lawfully selected candidates – and fill the Court with its own nominees instead. Additionally, it seeks to modify its operation, which will make this institution powerless to ensure the government’s compliance with the constitutional principles. 

The leaders of the public media are rapidly replaced and the institution is put under direct control of the government. This is implemented by PiS claiming that it is building neutral media but the cynical nomination of the party’s spin doctor as the head of the public television proves that PiS is in fact working towards securing full control over the public media. 

Undermining of these two main controls of governmental power – the Constitutional Court and the media - were the first steps of a systematic erosion of liberal democracy in Hungary. This first-hand experience makes us particularly sensitive to similar trends elsewhere. That is why we find the aggressive and nationalist language used by the Polish government as a reaction to critical remarks coming from "abroad", as the representatives of European institutions and political actors in other EU member states are called, totally unacceptable.

We support the European Commission’s inquiry into the rule of law in Poland. We also call on other international institutions, particularly the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to stand up for the values they represent and which Poland also voluntarily agreed to adhere to at the time of its accession. 

Undermining the system of checks and balances is contrary to the values and principles the EU was founded on. They need to be upheld and cherished in Poland, in Hungary, and in any EU member state. Any breaches of the system, wherever they take place, should bring about decisive action from EU institutions. 

All Poles, particularly lawyers and journalists who have recently braved PiS propaganda attacks and the winter cold to oppose the antidemocratic acts of the government, deserve respect and should serve as an inspiration for the pro-democracy Hungarians. Since the governments of Hungary and Poland, regretfully, collaborate in weakening of democracy, all democratically minded citizens of these two countries are particularly obliged to support each other.

17 January 2016