Unconstitutional jumping onto CREDIT UNIONS

Andrzej Tarwid

Governing people have outvoted a law about Credit Unions in the parliament which turned out to be unconstitutional in two points. However, it is possible that there are still about ......70 wrong regulations! But the judges of the Tribunal were not allowed to judge it

In our opinion the verdict of the Constitutional Tribunal has been the first success on the way of building a good law about Credit Unions - said Grzegorz Bierecki, the chairman of the National Fund for Credit Union just after the verdict pronounced by the Constitutional Tribunal last week.

Judges destroyed a regulation in their judgement, which deprives the members of the credit unions of a possibility in participation in a general assembly. And it restricts their rights to- as it was written in the announcement after the verdict – common making decisions’.

In practice, it means, for example, impossibility of choosing a credit union, its administration and Board of Directors by the members of cooperatives. And if these bodies were chosen before the unconstitutional law would be implemented – it is not known who would be supposed to ratify the balance or give the vote of acceptance to the management. Shortly speaking, parliamentarians voting for a new law breached the main rule of co-operation, according to which the co-operative movement is developing all over the world.

A project of Gall Anonim?

Such a fundamental mistake in the legislative process should not happen. For, lawyers help politicians with writing every act. Moreover, mistakes which were noticed by the members of parliament should be corrected by senators. It is not only a theory, but it is a usual procedure on new legal solutions. However, in the case of the new Act about credit unions, nothing - like a normal debate during which arguments are discussed, and bad solutions are eliminated- took place.

Representatives of the governing coalition were acting like a roller on a road. They were deaf to voices coming from the opposition, experts and representatives of credit unions. They did not consider critical opinions which they received from managers of European and worldly co-operative unions. And it resulted from some analysis that this Polish solution accepted in the 90s of the XX century became later an example for acts about credit unions in other countries. However, even this argument turned out to be insignificant.

The parliamentarian Sławomir Neumann, directing the act the longest on behalf of the Civic Platform party, used to repeat that the accepted solutions are supposed to strengthen credit unions and their members; whereas what appeared in the project meant that the credit unions would undergo similar rigours of control like banks but they would not have the same rights as banks. This change would cause the weakness to the attractiveness of credit unions on the financial market.

During work in the parliament, the representatives of credit unions wanted to know who had written the project about which parliamentarians were supposed to discuss. However, credit unions have never received this answer. First, Jakub Szulc was officially responsible for the new law, then he took post in the Health Ministry and in the New Year he excused himself, among the others, about the unsuccessful Act about reimbursement of medicaments. After Szulc, the responsibility for this Act was taken over by the aforementioned Sławomir Neumann.

It is not a mystery that these two men have worked in the banking sector before, that is, a competitor of credit unions. The curriculum vitae of Jakub Szulc, contains his work in a few different banks. And Sławomir Neumann had worked as a manager of Nordea Bank just before he became an MP. And he is still probably a worker of this institution, who is allegedly on holiday.

In democratic countries, where politicians care about transparency in creating law, such a situation is unacceptable. Parliamentarians resign from their influence on these decisions which belong to them in an interests’ conflict.

If Szulc and Neumann did not know about it, the intervention belonged to the minister Julia Pitera – the former manager of the Transparency International and the minister of Donald Tusk’s government for the fight against corruption in the years 2007 – 2011. However, the Minister kept silent and the voice of the opposition was not listened to by anybody from the government.

Unknown consultants

The Act about credit unions, accepted by the parliament of the former term of office, got onto a desk of the late president Lech Kaczyński, who had questioned it before the Constitutional Tribunal. However, in March 2011 the present president withdrew 70 of 72 accusations which had been submitted by his predecessor.

Such behaviour of the present head of state undoubtedly breached good custom, but was it essentially justified? – We were trying to investigate what arguments were behind the decision of Mr President – as Andrzej Dunajski, the chairman of credit unions says to the weekly ‘Sunday’.

– Unfortunately, in the sent answer there is information that in the office no materials of consultation were preserved, on whose basis the president withdrew the accusations formulated by the late Lech Kaczyński.

This is another striking situation in the whole matter. For, it turns out that just after making a decision by president Komorowski, there appeared information on a website of his office emphasizing the consideration of ‘many opinions’ by the head of state. How is it known if there is no material trace of these opinions? Does it happen that people cleaning the president’s office throw away documents prepared for the president into a rubbish bin? Or maybe clerks of the court destroy the effects of their work and a press team write information without any reason for that?

It is really difficult to believe in such a mess in the presence of the head of state. Bronisław Komorowski is an experienced politician which is confirmed not only by his supporters but also competitors. So, the president must have been fully aware that when he withdraws the accusations from the Tribunal, the issue raising emotions will revive with new echo and with harm for him. Despite that he decided to act with a method of accomplished facts.

What next?

So, acting according to the law, judges of the Constitutional Tribunal could decide about the accordance of the two regulations of the new Act concerning credit unions with the Constitution of the Polish Republic. These two regulations turned out to be wrong. And this means that the Act was imperfect, but not so much, not to be implemented in practice. Whether it will become a binding law, depends on the signature by president Komorowski. And what do the most interested people say about it?

In my opinion this Act is impracticable and must be corrected as quick as possible – says the chairman Bierecki.

– I hope that after the Constitutional tribunal damped the enthusiasm of the creators of the wrong law, this time changes will be properly prepared – he emphasizes.


"Niedziela" 04/2012

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl