0231 GMT January 16, 2019
Pointing to a reform of the Supreme Court that takes effect on July 3rd, the leaders accused the Law and Justice (PiS) government of “dismantling the tripartite division of powers in Poland, explicitly violating the Polish Constitution,” AFP reported.
“The European Union is the last administrative level that can defend the law and order in Poland,” the former presidents, who include leftist Aleksander Kwasniewski and liberal Bronislaw Komorowski, said in a statement published in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
Four former Polish prime ministers, four ex-foreign ministers and several former anti-communist dissidents also added their names to the statement.
The signatories appealed “to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union to remain committed to the fundamental principles” contained in the EU treaty that guarantee the rule of law.
In December, Brussels triggered an unprecedented procedure that could lead to Warsaw losing its EU voting rights if it presses ahead with reforms deemed to pose a “systemic threat” to the rule of law.
EU foreign ministers are due to discuss the issue again on June 26 just ahead of a summit of EU leaders.
The PiS government rejects claims that its reforms dismantle the separation of powers enshrined in EU treaties, insisting instead that the changes are necessary to remove the last vestiges of communism from Poland’s justice system.