Deputy speaker says not to panic over EU court fine

"We haven't paid any fine yet. Let's not panic," Ryszard Terlecki, a senior member of Law and Justice, the dominant party in the country’s ruling collation, told journalists on Wednesday. Piotr Nowak/PAP

The deputy speaker of the Polish parliament has said there is no need to panic after the European Court of Justice (CJEU) imposed EUR 1 million daily fine on Poland for not suspending the Disciplinary Chamber of the country's Supreme Court.

On Wednesday the court announced that Poland has to pay the European Commission the sum for failing to comply with a CJEU ruling demanding the suspension of the chamber.

The CJEU has ruled the Disciplinary Chamber lacks sufficient political independence needed to operate as a neutral court.

"We haven't paid any fine yet. Let's not panic," Ryszard Terlecki, a senior member of Law and Justice, the dominant party in the country’s ruling collation, told journalists on Wednesday. Asked when the Disciplinary Chamber would be liquidated, he replied, "maybe Europe will withdraw from these ideas."

Poland is also being fined EUR 0.5 million a day for failure to halt mining at the Turów open-cast lignite mine near the Czech border, which has been the subject of a complaint to the court by Czech authorities.

Despite Poland having to pay EUR 1.5 million a day in fines, Terlecki said: "Oh my! You're panicking terribly. We haven't paid anything yet, so let's not panic."

The government has said it plans to liquidate the chamber, but Terlecki said that these plans were running "a little late."

Government spokesman Piotr Mueller also commented on the fine on Wednesday, saying the EU was a community of sovereign states bound by clear rules.

"The matter of regulating organisation of the judicial system is an exclusive competence of the member states," he said, adding that the Polish government had spoken publically about the need to make changes to its judicial system in order to improve its efficiency.

"The path of fines and blackmail against our country is not the right path," Mueller continued. "That is not the model of how the European Union - a union of sovereign states - should function."