US “positively assesses restoration of rule of law in Poland”, claims justice minister after meeting ambassador

Poland’s justice minister Adam Bodnar has claimed that the US ambassador to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, expressed approval of the policies being pursued by the new Polish government during a meeting between the pair.

“I am glad that the ambassador positively assesses the ministry’s activities aimed at the restoration of the rule of law in Poland,” said Bodnar on Thursday.

Cieszę się, że Pan Ambasador Mark Brzezinski pozytywnie ocenia działania resortu prowadzące do przywrócenia w Polsce praworządności.

Dobre stosunki polsko-amerykańskie to ważny element polityki zagranicznej obu państw – powiedział Minister Sprawiedliwości Adam Bodnar podczas…

— Min. Sprawiedliwości (@MS_GOV_PL) January 11, 2024

In a statement, the justice ministry said that the ambassador had “raised issues related to respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, which have been seriously violated in recent years…[and] expressed his admiration for the enormous mobilisation of voters and democratic forces in Poland”.

In his own brief remarks on the meeting, Brzezinski did not offer any explicit endorsement of the new government’s policies, saying only that “the United States and Poland share a commitment to the rule of law and judicial independence, which requires constant determination and renewal”.

Under Poland’s previous Law and Justice (PiS) government, which left office last month, the US had periodically raised concerns that some of its policies could hinder media freedom and the fair conduct of elections.

Podczas wczorajszego spotkania z Ministrem Sprawiedliwości Adamem Bodnarem @Adbodnar miałem okazję pogratulować mu niedawnej nominacji. Stany Zjednoczone i Polskę łączy zaangażowanie na rzecz praworządności i niezawisłości sądów, co wymaga stałej determinacji i odnowy. @MS_GOV_PL

— Ambasador Mark Brzezinski (@USAmbPoland) January 11, 2024

The new government, led by Donald Tusk, has pledged to restore the rule of law and media freedom in Poland. However, in its first weeks in power, it has already faced accusations of violating both.

In particular, its decision to unilaterally replace the management of public media outlets – which had been turned into propaganda mouthpieces by PiS – raised concern among many independent legal experts. This week, a court ruled the changes to have been illegitimate.

PiS, now in opposition, has also accused the new government of threatening democracy in a number of other areas. Yesterday, it organised a large demonstration in Warsaw “in defence of freedom of speech, freedom of the media and democracy”.

Poland’s former ruling party has held a large anti-government protest in Warsaw.

„We are defending Poland against the return of German imperialism” and a „European plan to liquidate our homeland as a state”, declared PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 11, 2024

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Main image credit: MS_GOV_PL/X

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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