Justice minister wants to bring Germany before EU court

Mateusz Marek/PAP

Poland's justice minister has said that he intends to ask the Polish government to consider taking Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union for violating EU treaties.

The move comes amid controversy surrounding changes to the Polish judicial system that the EU alleges are a threat to the independence of the judiciary in Poland. An accusation that the government has denied while claiming that Brussels is employing double standards by failing to bring to task EU states that have also, allegedly, compromised the independence of their judges.

Zbigniew Ziobro told a press conference on Monday: "If the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg states that the participation of politicians in the procedure to elect (judicial – PAP) authorities raises doubts as to the independence of its future judges, then we want to know how this participation has an influence on the independence of future judges in Germany."

He pointed out that, in the case of Germany, the participation of the lower house of the German parliament in the election of the authorities of the Federal Court of Justice (the supreme court in all matters of criminal and private law) "went considerably much further than in Poland."

The justice minister said that "if a claim is made against Poland for these reasons, that at some stage the participation of the parliament takes place (in the election of judges - PAP), then the conclusions of the CJEU, based on an analysis of European treaties should all the more so be applied to the largest EU country."

"This is why, as the minister of justice, I will ask the Polish government to consider taking legal steps based on the EU legal article… which gives each state the right to take legal action against another EU country if there are significant grounds for it," he said.

The procedure is meant to bring Germany before the CJEU for violating EU treaties by politicising the judiciary.

Ziobro said that German courts also adjudicate in cases concerning Polish entrepreneurs and citizens. "We are within the framework of the EU. These rules apply to everyone and must be strictly adhered to," he added.

"If it turns out that the CJEU applies one set of norms and legal standards to one country and another set to other countries, then this would be very momentous and important in the assessment of where the European Union finds itself today and where it is headed in relation to systemic relations between states and EU bodies," he said.