EC views plans for Supreme Court reform in Poland positively
The European Commission (EC) has reacted positively to Polish plans to reform a disciplinary chamber for judges that has been at the heart of a protracted dispute between Brussels and Warsaw.
The chamber, introduced by Poland’s Law and Justice government, has been accused of undermining the rule of law in Poland, and a top EU court has demanded its abolition.
The Polish government failure, so far, to do this has led to Brussels delaying the approval of Poland’s National Recovery Plan (KPO), meaning that Poland has failed to gain access to billions of euros in post-pandemic recovery funding.
But legislation liquidating the chamber in its current form has now been tabled in the Polish parliament.
"The European Commission is following developments," said Christian Wigand, the EC’s spokesperson. "The fact that there is a move to reform the disciplinary regime is a positive step. Ultimately, the scope and content of the legal act finally adopted by the Polish parliament will be important. It is imperative that any such provisions comply with EU law and solve the issues raised by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU)."
Last Thursday, the Sejm, Poland’s lower house, adopted an amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court, initiated by President Andrzej Duda, which, liquidates the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.
Earlier, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki assured parliament that we "negotiated the KPO" and "completed negotiations with the EC on milestones (related to the KPO - PAP)." He also announced that President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will visit Poland on June 2.
According to the amendment, judges who are now adjudicating in the Disciplinary Chamber are to be allowed to transfer to another chamber or retire. A Chamber of Professional Responsibility is to be established in the Supreme Court.
In the summer of 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU called on Poland to immediately suspend the chamber. Poland’s failure to do so resulted in the court imposing a fine on Poland of EUR 1 million per day.
The Senate will debate the amendment to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.