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FYEG & Polish Young Greens: PiS OFF!

It is with great concern that FYEG views the ongoing developments in Poland by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Along with the Polish Young Greens, Ostra Zieleń, FYEG condemns the moves of PiS to change the state’s institutions to serve their own political interest, without regard to the possible long term effects for the country and its young people. These dangerous power grabs include attempts to limit the independence of Poland’s highest legislative court, the Constitutional Tribunal, and taking control over state media.

Last year, President Duda, PiS’s presidential candidate was elected in an upset against the incumbent from the more centrist Civic Platform. Following this election, PiS was also successful in parliamentary elections where they were elected as an absolute majority, the first time since communism that Poland has been under control of a single party. Since this rise in power, it appears that PiS is increasingly resembling Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán and it is unclear if further changes will be made.

For example, PiS recently passed legislation that gave the government the ability to directly appoint the heads of public broadcasters. This in effect will give control over state media from the current National Broadcasting Council to the government in order to promote “national interests”. Further, PiS has pushed through legislation that will slow down the Constitutional Tribunal, therefore making it harder for them to check the legality of various acts by the government. These moves have raised concern from the European Commission and will be put under review and decisions made if reprehensions will follow, such as removing Poland’s voting right in the European Council. 

The Polish Young Greens write, “we are an organisation, that brings together young people - high school students, university students, and persons at the beginning of their professional path. That is why we think about the future, about the country we are going to live in in 5, 10 or 15 years. One thing we know for sure: we don’t want to live in a country ruled by Law and Justice - a stuffy, conservative country far away from Europe. This is the country that the ruling party wants to build here for us.

We are aware that the Poland we live in now is far from perfect. We engage in the social and political activities exactly because of that. We want to change it and improve it. We want the rights put in the Constitution from 1997 to be really respected: civil rights, protection from discrimination based on every ground, the right to health care, education, securing housing needs and many other rights. Today we only enjoy them on paper. However, it should be the task of the government to fulfill them and not to destroy the institution that guards them!”

We as FYEG stand along with the Polish Young Greens and ask all young people to join the protest to defend a fair and democratic Poland. Europe cannot let Poland’s highest courts and state media be transformed into a tool for political manipulation and a vehicle of propaganda. We all should stand in solidarity to defend these core common European values and ensure that the future of Poland will not be fundamentally altered by narrow-minded political power grabs.

Statement of the Polish Young Greens Ostra Zieleń in Polish