Justice min says EC deputy head is calling Polish judges to anarchy

Piotr Nowak/PAP

Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish justice minister, has accused Vera Jourova, the deputy head of the European Commission, of inciting anarchy in the ranks of the Polish judiciary.

Taking to twitter to get the message across, Ziobro also said the EU cannot question the shape of Poland's judiciary.

The Wirtualna Polska website wrote on Monday that Jourova, in a closed meeting with Polish journalists, said that "unfortunately in Poland the dependence of judges on politicians has increased, legal dualism has arisen, many decisions are being questioned."

"This is total chaos, which is exacerbated by the denial of the judgments of European courts,” she continued. “I wonder how many people have yet to tell Minister Ziobro that what he is doing is wrong?"

Ziobro, who is also the prosecutor general and the architect of many of the recent changes to the Polish judicial system that have come under European scrutiny, was quick to respond.

"How many people still have to tell Vera Jourova that what she is doing is inciting Polish judges to anarchy and causing legal chaos, undermining the security of citizens?” Ziobro tweeted. “The EU cannot question the shape of our judiciary. Poland is sovereign and the European Commission will not change that."

"What is a normal procedure in Spain and Germany when electing judges with the participation of parliament, in Poland has become a charge of destroying the rule of law. I will not agree to the hypocrisy and blackmail on the part of EU officials, or to attempts to make Poland a vassal of Brussels," he added.

During the meeting, Jourova also asked if the Polish government intended to respect the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and if so, how and when.

"Why do we consider this matter a priority? Because Polish judges are also EU judges and have the right to submit inquiries to the CJEU. In this way, we are able to function as a community and a common market," Jourova said.

"Without respecting the judgments of the CJEU, we are not able to provide all EU members with the same rules of the game," she emphasised.

Earlier this year the CJEU called on Poland to suspend the operations of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court because the court deemed it lacking in independence from the government.

Poland’s failure to wind up the chamber resulted in the European Commission asking the CJEU to impose a fines for non-compliance.

At the end of October, the CJEU informed Poland that it was obliged to pay the European Commission a fine of EUR 1 million per day, in effect from the date of delivery of this provision until the date of compliance with the July decision.

Earlier, in September, the CJEU has also decided to fine Poland EUR 500,000 per day for not implementing interim measures and continuing to extract lignite from the Turow mine in southern Poland, after Czechia submitted a complaint to the CJEU.