CJEU ruling 'violation' of EU treaty says justice minister

"With this ruling, the CJEU has referred to competences which it does not have," Ziobro said. Marcin Obara/PAP

The Polish justice minister has attacked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), accusing it of a “flagrant violation” of EU treaties after it ruled that changes to the Polish justice system infringed on EU law.

The ruling, made earlier on Monday, referred to changes introduced by the Polish government in 2019.

Their introduction triggered a long-running dispute between Warsaw and Brussels, with the European Commission arguing they undermined judicial independence while the Polish government contested this, while also saying that the EU had no right to interfere in a country's judicial system.

"The CJEU verdict issued on Monday was not written by judges but by politicians as it is a flagrant violation of the European Treaty," Zbigniew Ziobro, who is also leader of Sovereign Poland, a junior member of the ruling coalition, told reporters later on Monday.

"With this ruling, the CJEU has referred to competences which it does not have," Ziobro added.

"There is no country in the world where judges can undermine the status of another judge, and the CJEU wants Poland to find itself in a situation in which this is possible," the justice minister continued.

"But there is an exception... one cannot undermine the status of a judge who has been appointed by communists," Ziobro stated, adding that there were still judges who began their careers during the communist era and are still active in Poland.

According to Ziobro, two years ago the European media had revealed a corruption scandal involving the CJEU and politicians belonging to the European People's Party, of which Donald Tusk, the current leader of Poland's main opposition party, was once president.

Ziobro added, that, according to media reports, "rulings were written during hunting events and boozy banquets."

"And there has not yet been an explanation. As long as Ms Ursula von der Leyen and EU institutions do not present a statement on this issue, it will be difficult not to see the CJEU as a court whose reliability has been undermined, or simply as a body which has been disgraced in the eyes of the European public opinion," Ziobro claimed.