EC starts proceeding against Poland over disciplinary chamber
The European Commission has initiated more proceedings against Poland for infringement of EU law by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to continue to rule on cases directly affecting judges.
"Today, the Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Poland regarding the continued functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court," the European Commission (EC) said in a press release on Friday.
"In its additional Letter of Formal Notice, the Commission considers that Poland violates EU law by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court – the independence and impartiality of which is not guaranteed – to decide on further matters which directly affect judges," the EC went on to say.
Christian Wigand, an EC spokesperson, said that time was of key importance when it came to protecting judges from "political control" in Poland.
The proceedings could well increase tensions between Poland and the EU. Brussels has frequently clashed with Poland’s socially conservative government over its controversial overhaul of the Polish judicial system.
Earlier this year, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Disciplinary Chamber could not conduct proceedings against judges.
According to the new EC press release, the violations of EU law involve, for example, the waving of the immunity of judges in order to hold them criminally responsible or possibly to detain them, as well as to matters regarding labour law.
The EU body went on to claim that the request adds a new charge to the infringement procedures initiated against Poland on April 29, 2020, due to legislative changes concerning the judiciary.
Poland now has one month to respond to the EC's notice. If the response is not satisfactory, the case may ultimately be referred to the European Court of Justice.