Poland, the death penalty and the eu charter of fundamental rights

First the No to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, then the veto against a "European Day against the Death Penalty". Poland's government takes a special path in the EU. Protests against Warsaw's course hail from other member states. But Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski wants to win parliamentary elections this way in just over four weeks, experts say. "Kaczynski is trying to profit from these European policy moves in the election campaign," Krakow political scientist Piotr Buras tells the Catholic News Agency (KNA).

The conservative politician has thereby above all the voters on the right edge and the populist party "self-defense" in the eye. And the chances of success are relatively high, says Buras.Poland's veto was followed on Tuesday in Brussels by the proclamation of the 10.October for the "European Day against the Death Penalty" failed.Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told Polish media: "We do not want such a symbolic day, but a discussion about the death penalty."At the same time, the minister confessed that he was a supporter of this penalty, but did not want to introduce it – out of consideration for the EU. The minister does not provoke a storm of protest in Poland.Only the Social Democrats and the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights criticized the blocking of the commemoration day against the death penalty. The conservative daily "Rzeczpospolita" sees Poland's veto as the right response to the left-wing and liberal forces that want to impose their ideology on Europe. Plus: majority of pols support possibility of executions. In March, 63 percent favored using the death penalty in a poll conducted by the CBOS Institute. President Lech Kaczynski had also stressed in the past that he had always been a supporter of the death penalty and would remain so.Poland also takes a special path with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. For his reservations on the ie, the country is also getting backing from the church. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, speaking at a conference in Krakow over the weekend, stressed the Holy See's appreciation of Warsaw's position at the EU summit in June. A unilateral statement by Poland at the time said that the Charter did not affect the right of member states to legislate in the areas of public morality, family law, and respect for human integrity.Thus Poland took up criticism, which there was already in the past from the Catholic church at the European Union charter of fundamental rights. When the document was proclaimed by EU heads of state and government in December 2000, Pope John Paul II., saying the charter is not bold enough in protecting the family and life. The Polish bishops, however, have been conspicuously silent on this ie so far. And Warsaw's stance on the Charter of Fundamental Rights has so far not referred to the Church.The main argument of the government against the document is that it threatens the Polish family law. Warsaw warns homosexuals could enforce same-sex marriages in Poland through basic rights catalog. In addition, he said, the charter favors property claims by German expellees against Poland. "Absurd" political scientist Buras finds these arguments. The Charter of Fundamental Rights strengthens citizens vis-à-vis the EU institutions, but does not impose anything on the member states.Nevertheless, it would not be a disaster for the EU if Poland did not join the charter, he says. He said that the EU had already coped with exemption clauses for other states in its history.Meanwhile, Stephan Raabe, head of the Warsaw office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, sees Poland on a "path leading out of the EU. It is quite possible that the prime minister will block the upcoming informal EU summit shortly before the Polish elections, Raabe told the KNA. "I fear that he will abuse it for the election campaign, claiming that the EU tramples on Polish interests."

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