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Polish FM slams Council of Europe over constitutional crisis

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski sees "no point" in continuing dialogue with the Council of Europe over Poland's constitutional crisis. This follows continued concern over the state of democracy in Poland.

Late Saturday, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told the commercial news channel "TVN24" that the Council of Europe's report was "very one-sided and riddled with errors."

"We've concluded that there's no point in continuing dialogue with the commission," Waszczykowski said.

"It insults the Polish government and Polish society by presenting a false and one-sided argument," he added.

Waszczykowski's comments came after the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's constitutional watchdog, again admonished Poland for its failure to unblock the work of the Constitutional Tribunal, and gave Warsaw another month to get its house in order.

The Council of Europe advocates freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities. It is the continent's leading human rights organisation, with 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union

Worry about Poland's course

In a nonbinding opinion released Friday, the Venice Commission warned that changes to Poland's top legislative court could "delay and obstruct the work of the tribunal" and "possibly make its work ineffective," adding that the changes made were "too limited in scope." The commission did note that the final package offered by the government was an improvement on an earlier version.

Poland's highest legislative watchdog has been stymied since the Law and Justice (PiS) government pushed through changes to the tribunal's decision-making rules soon after coming to power late last year, alarming the EU and triggering street protests. In March, the Council of Europe's Venice Commission warned that the reforms threatened democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Poland.

jbh/mkg (AP, TVN24)

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