FOR Communication 13/2019: Less freedom by weakening the rule of law - Poland in the Human Freedom Index
- In the latest edition of the Human Freedom Index 2018, which covers the first year of the rule of the Law and Justice party, Poland ranked 39th out of 162 countries with a score of 7.81 points. The deterioration of the personal liberty rate, to a large extent including the level of the rule of law, is responsible for most of this decline.
- This is a continuation of the decrease visible also in the previous edition of the index, when the value of the freedom index in Poland also decreased, as a result of, among others, a worse rating of the rule of law, resulting from the first steps taken by the Law and Justice party to take control of the Constitutional Court.
- Despite the deteriorating ratings for human freedom in Poland, politicians from the ruling party have spoken out repeatedly about freedom. Mateusz Morawiecki spoke at the Law and Justice Convention in February this year: "Freedom must be real. Let's not get fooled. We have to answer the basic questions whether freedom is wealth, whether true freedom without political correctness is the way up the ladder for young people". Jarosław Kaczyński, receiving the "Man of Freedom 2016" award of the Sieci weekly, said that "it may happen that Poland will remain like an island, that there will be less and less freedom elsewhere", although at the end of 2016 many countries of the region and the world were rated better in terms of the level of freedom than Poland. In February of this year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the subject. Jarosław Kaczyński claimed that "there are those who want to take away our freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion", although it was under the rule of Law and Justice that the assessment of the rule of law (an important component of the index of freedom), economic freedom, religious freedom or freedom of speech deteriorated.
- Poland took eighth place in the Human Freedom Index among the countries of our region. Estonia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic were in the lead. The first two countries had the highest level of economic freedom. In the Czech Republic, on the other hand, the index authors observed the highest level of personal freedom.
- New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Great Britain, Finland, Norway and Taiwan are at the forefront of the latest edition of the Human Freedom Index.
- The index ends with Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Venezuela and Syria's last remaining position. Not all countries that are known for their extremely anti-liberal regimes, for example, have been ranked because of the lack of reliable data to use, as in the case of North Korea.
- The authors draw attention to several important dependencies. Firstly, there is a strong link between economic freedom and personal freedom. Secondly, there is a strong link between the general level of freedom and wealth. The average level of GDP among 25% of the most free countries exceeds 39 thousand dollars, and in the least free countries it is only about 12 thousand dollars. Thirdly, there is a strong correlation between freedom and an index measuring the quality of democracy.
Marek Tatała, vice-president of FOR
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