Poland's disciplinary panel for judges will disappear, says minister
Poland will scrap in its current form a disciplinary panel for judges that lies at the centre of a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw, Poland’s minister for European affairs said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Thursday that in the coming months the ruling United Right will find a solution regarding the disciplinary panel for judges, which will also be accepted by the president.
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) on Wednesday imposed a EUR 1 million daily fine on Poland for its failure to comply with a ruling demanding the suspension of the disciplinary panel for judges at the Supreme Court.
Konrad Szymański said in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, on Thursday that although Poland's position as regards the reform of the judiciary has not changed, "the Disciplinary Chamber in its current composition will cease to exist."
"This does not mean that Poland is to renounce any form of disciplinary liability of judges, because this is not the subject of the ruling and this is not, I hope, the intention of the European Commission or the CJEU," he said.
In July, the CJEU ordered Poland to shut down the panel, saying that it lacked independence and could be used by the government to silence defiant judges but Poland, so far, has failed to comply.
Poland's ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), has hinted it will amend regulations referring to the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court but until now no legislation has been submitted to parliament.
Szymański said that the Sejm cannot operate under pressure from EU institutions, adding that the recent rulings of the CJEU made it difficult to reach an agreement between the European Commission and Poland.
Poland has already been told to pay EUR 500,000 for each day of non-compliance with another CJEU ruling, in which the court ordered the closure of the Turów open-cast lignite mine near the Czech border due to its environmental impact, starting from September 20. Poland has not paid any of the fines yet.
Szymański told parliament that so far the Polish government had wanted an amicable agreement over Turów with the Czech Republic.
"Today we are waiting for the political situation to be recreated after the elections in the Czech Republic, and we will certainly be able to return to these talks soon, if we are dealing with a matter-of-fact attitude on the Czech side," he said.