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Venice Commission to postpone opinion on bill on Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal

The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, an international watchdog, will not issue a preliminary opinion on a bill on Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, before work on the new law is completed.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjoern Jagland has asked the Venice Commission to hold off from presenting a preliminary opinion on the new legislation on the constitutional court, Council of Europe spokesman Panos Kakaviatos has told the PAP news agency.

During a debate on the bill in the Polish Senate last week, a number of amendments to the legislation were proposed, many in line with the Venice Commission’s earlier recommendations, the spokesman said.

The watchdog hopes they “will constitute a positive response to concerns expressed by the Council of Europe.”

Jagland, Kakaviatos added, “will ask the Venice Commission to issue an opinion on the bill once the legislative process is completed.”

The bill is still being debated in the upper chamber of the Polish parliament.

Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski told Polish Radio on Monday he was “convinced that this will end the political conflict over the Constitutional Tribunal.”

A political stalemate over the country’s top court has made international headlines, sparking criticism abroad and protests in the country.

The European Commission has launched the first step of a so-called rule of law procedure against Poland.

In March, the Venice Commission warned that the rule of law, democracy and human rights were in danger as long as Poland was embroiled in a constitutional crisis.

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