Constitutionality of laws decided by top court says gov't spokesman
The spokesman for Poland's government has disagreed with a critical opinion voiced by a Supreme Court official concerning an amendment to the law on the Supreme Court.
Piotr Mueller made the statement on Sunday, having said that "the constitutionality of laws in Poland is decided upon by the Constitutional Tribunal and not the Supreme Court."
The Sejm, lower house of the Polish parliament, on Friday successfully passed a Supreme Court reform that was needed to unlock billions of euros in the EU's post-pandemic recovery funds for Poland.
Aleksander Stępkowski, the Supreme Court spokesman, told PAP that the adopted law was "incompatible with the Constitution on many levels."
He added that the law had not been in fact shaped by representatives of the nation but by "a small group of negotiators of the government and the European Commission, whose democratic mandate can often be doubted."
Mueller denied this statement and told a private television station that the bill had been adopted by Polish parliament and not by the European Commission.
Asked about the government's opinion regarding the critical remarks voiced by the Supreme Court spokesman, Mueller repeated that it was the Constitutional Tribunal which could decide whether a law was constitutional, and not the Supreme Court.
Brussels has locked Poland out of funding owing to its apparent failure to overhaul or reverse changes to the Polish judicial system it considers a threat to the rule of law. Recent talks between the Polish government and the European Commission indicated that the Supreme Court law could be crucial for the release of the funds.
According to the new legislation, all disciplinary issues concerning judges should be settled by the top administrative court instead of the Supreme Court's Chamber of Professional Responsibility, a body created to replace a disciplinary chamber considered by the EC to be politicised.
The legislation will now go the opposition-dominated Senate, upper house of parliament.
Poland is due to receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans from the EU's post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility.