Beset by EU criticism, Poland aims for "better communication"

Polish and EU officials sought to reconcile their differences at a meeting on Friday as EU concerns about a series of laws enacted by Warsaw's new conservative government continue to grow.

"We had the feeling that communication between Poland and Brussels was not the best over matters that have a very high priority for Poland," European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymanski said Friday after a meeting with Marzenna Guz-Vetter, the leader of the EU delegation in Poland.

Poland wanted to use the meeting to more clearly state its position on both the government's controversial reform of its constitutional court and its implementation of a new media law.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday signed the media law into effect, giving the government greater power over public broadcasters, despite concerns from the European Union.

"Media pluralism and the sovereignty of law are elements of politics that are just as important for Poland as they are for the EU," Szymanski said after the meeting.

It is important, he said, that the European Commission and other European institutions not be perceived as partisan in Poland's political fight.

"I believe we have taken a step forward in reaching a place where everyone has the feeling that the EU commission handles our country as any other member," the Polish minister said.

Guz-Vetter spoke of a "substantive conversation" in which much doubt could be illuminated. She also emphasized pluralism of the media as a core EU value, adding that the European Commission is obligated to ensure its protection.

Former national conservative European Parliament member Jacek Kurski was on Friday named as the new head of the public TVP television broadcaster, now that reforms have given Warsaw the power to hire and fire broadcast executives.

Kurski is a "guarantee for the return of balance in public media," said Treasurer Dawid Jackiewicz as he announced the appointment.

"Television requires detailed, objective journalism," he said, noting that journalists who do not meet this criteria will be "unnerved" by the new standards.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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