EU parliament interferes with Polish legal system - top court head

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

A European Parliament resolution on Poland's abortion rights is an unprecedented attempt to interfere with the country's internal legal issues that are not covered by EU treaties, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal president, Julia Przylebska, has said.

In the resolution passed on Thursday, the European Parliament "strongly condemned" the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal on abortion in Poland, saying that "this ruling endangers the health and life of women".

On October 22, the Tribunal, which verifies the constitutionality of Polish laws, ruled that abortion is unconstitutional in the case of a severely damaged foetus. The ruling leaves two situations in which a pregnancy can be terminated: when the pregnancy is the result of a crime or when it poses a danger to the mother's health or life.

"The European Parliament's resolution constitutes an unprecedented attempt to interfere with internal systemic issues of the Republic of Poland not covered by European treaties,” said Przylebska. “MEPs have trespassed on the independence of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland, which is a breach of the tri-partite separation of powers, and therefore the fundamentals of democracy, which cannot be justified.”

She went on to say that the Tribunal's ruling was issued in accordance with Poland's laws by judges elected without breach of any legal norms. "Questioning the ruling and the status of judges has no justification in the factual and legal state of affairs," she said.

"In their resolution, the European Parliament deputies have undermined one of the foundations of a democratic state based on the rule of law, which is judicial independence. Additionally, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled solely on the eugenic premise as a justification for a termination of pregnancy," Przylebska said, adding that Poland still allows terminations if the pregnancy poses a threat to the woman's health or life and when the pregnancy results from a crime, "which the MEPs have not taken note of."

"Therefore criticism of the ruling on grounds that it deprives women of the right to choose when their life or health is endangered, is completely unfounded," she said.

The court president said that "Poland's constitution ensures legal protection of life and health to every human being, as confirmed by the Constitutional Tribunal's ruling."

"The European Union constitutes a community of values,” she explained. “Let me remind all of you of Article 4 of the Treaty on the European Union which states that, in line with the principle of sincere cooperation, the EU and its Member States show respect for one another. I appeal to all European Parliament deputies for respect and to stop discrediting the Republic of Poland by undermining the legitimacy of its constitutional bodies, including the Constitutional Tribunal."