Minister tells EU commissioner Poland has right to reform judicial system

Ziobro told a press conference after the meeting that he had discussed with Reynders "both similarities and discrepancies between Poland's Ministry of Justice and the European Commission, with "the main disagreement concerning the rule of law and equality." Leszek Szymański/PAP

Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland's minister of justice, said after his meeting with the EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynder, that while some EU members are allowed to make changes in their judiciary others are not.

The meeting in Warsaw on Thursday came 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.

Ziobro told a press conference after the meeting that he had discussed with Reynders "both similarities and discrepancies between Poland's Ministry of Justice and the European Commission, with "the main disagreement concerning the rule of law and equality."Ziobro said Poland believed there could be no true rule of law without the equal treatment of all EU members.

"This difference primarily comes down to the fact that in our opinion the rule of law is not possible without equality. There can be no rule of law without the equal treatment of (the EU - PAP) countries, also with respect to judicial reforms," Ziobro said.

Poland... will never agree to the position that some states are allowed to introduce certain changes in the area of the judiciary, including the introduction of democratic mechanisms for the election of judges, while other states are deprived of this, just because this is what an EC official wants, what a judge of the CJEU wants, what some politician, for example in Berlin, wants to do," he stated.