President Duda calls human rights commissioner's comments "anti-Polish"

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President Duda: change of ombudsman in Poland is a matter of urgencyTVN24
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TVN24President Duda: change of ombudsman in Poland is a matter of urgency

Poland's president Andrzej Duda rejected recent comments by a government critic that the country was backsliding on rule of law as "anti-Polish" as he welcomed his Estonian counterpart in Warsaw on Tuesday (May 4).

In comments reported by Polish and international media, Poland's human rights commissioner Adam Bodnar called for a stronger response by European institutions to prevent worsening of rule of law and democratic standards in the country.

In an interview for France 24, Bodnar said Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, in power since 2015, "marginalises the role of parliament, has in large part brought to heel the Constitutional Court, the prosecutor's office, public media, as well as certain judicial institutions".

Asked to respond to the comments by an Estonian journalist, Duda said Bodnar could not back up his statements with concrete facts and said the comments showed that installing a new ombudsman was "a matter of urgency".

"It is a shame that Adam Bodnar, while propagating slogans which in my opinion are just anti-Polish and from the Polish perspective anti-state, he doesn't back them up with concrete facts to justify his statements" - Polish president said.

"For me as the President of the Polish Republic, the fact that he takes the liberty to present those slogans in the international forum is even more painful. It is a very poor testimonial to him and proves that the change of ombudsman in Poland is a matter of urgency" - Andrzej Duda added.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said European Union countries had differed on their views on human rights and values before, and it was important that EU members could discuss such issues openly and transparently.

"It's not the first time in history when European countries differ in their opinion about how they analyse and understand the universal human rights and the values. It's happened before and it was resolved before with the involvement of only the leaders elected and that means the Council level, so for me, this, as I already said, remains an important cornerstone. In Europe, we discuss openly, transparently, the different issues, also in the cases when our democratic processes are delivering different societies" - Kaljulaid said at a press briefing standing alongside Duda.

A top Polish court ruled in April that Bodnar should be removed from his post. He remains in office while lawmakers debate who to appoint as his successor.

Kaljulaid was in Warsaw to mark the 230th anniversary of Europe's first written constitution alongside Duda and their counterparts from Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine on Monday (May 3).

Presidents of Estonia and PolandPAP/KPRP/Jakub Szymczuk

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters

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