Poland denies consulting judicial reforms with Israel

2023-03-28 14:17 update: 2023-03-29, 14:48
Paweł Jabłoński. Photo PAP/Mateusz Marek
Paweł Jabłoński. Photo PAP/Mateusz Marek
The Polish government shared information with Israel about changes to its judicial system but has denied it was consulted, a Polish deputy foreign minister has said in reaction to mass protests against a judicial overhaul in Israel.

Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in recent days in protest against plans by the right-wing government to curb the Supreme Court' powers and increase the power of parliament over it.

The widespread opposition to the changes, which has even led to embassies going on strike, prompted Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minster to suspend their implementation on Monday to next month.

The nature of the proposed changes have prompted some to say they are similar to those implemented by the Polish government, and on Monday, Pawel Jablonski, a deputy foreign minister, confirmed to the Polish private radio RMF FM that Poland had discussed its justice reforms with Israel.

"Of course, we've been talking to Israel and we've been sharing our experience in this area to some extent... The Israeli side itself asked us about them," Jablonski said.

But on Tuesday, Jablonski said no consultations between the two countries had taken place.

"I never spoke about any consultations," the deputy minister said at a press conference in parliament.

"We share our experiences with many countries, including Israel, on what is happening in Poland with regard to our reforms: justice reforms, tax reforms, social reforms," he said.

"It's not that Israel has consulted with Poland any part of its regulations. Some people may think that Poles will write laws in Israel, but it's really not the case," he went on to say.

According to Israeli media, including the national daily Haaretz, some protesters said they did not want Israel to "become like Hungary and Poland," as they referred to the changes in the two countries' justice systems that put them on a collision course with the European Union over rule-of-law concerns.

The European Commission has suspended the payment of much-needed billions of euros from an EU post-pandemic recovery fund to Poland until the country meets a number of conditions, including the reversal of some of its changes to the judicial system that Brussels considers incompatible with EU treaties.

The Israeli conservative government wanted to increase its say in appointing judges to the Supreme Court and curb the court's powers to strike down laws passed by the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. (PAP)