European Commission concerned by waiving immunity of judges in Poland

OLIVIER HOSLET/PAP/EPA

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Monday the EC is concerned by Poland's Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber's recent decisions depriving judges of their immunity.

Reynders was addressing a sitting of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs devoted to recent developments in Poland and Hungary, including the Article 7 procedure and the state of LGBTI rights in the two countries.

Austrian MEP Bettina Vollath said, among others, that both Poland and Hungary "have ignored judgments of the Tribunal (CJEU)," as well as "attacked minority rights."

"These governments are acting against their citizens," Vollath said, referring to Warsaw and Budapest's blockade of a multiannual EU budget and recovery fund. In her opinion, Poland and Hungary are becoming "apparent democracies."

Representing the Renew Europe group, Sophie in 't Veld, focused her criticism on the activities of the European Commission. In her opinion, the EU executive is not acting decisively enough towards the governments of Poland and Hungary.

"If this European Commission fails to defend the values included in the treaties, it means that it does not fulfil its obligations," said the MEP. She argued, it is very important "that other member states in the Council do not succumb to blackmail by two corrupt autocrats."

MEP Beata Kempa of Solidarity Poland protested against the use of such terms. "This is a slander," she said. According to her the dispute over the rule of law is in fact a dispute as to whether a country has the right to reform in line with the expectations of its citizens or not.

"In my homeland nothing is happening that is unusual in Spain or France, but it is us that the European Commission ruthlessly attacks," Kempa said.