President says he expects consultations over new judiciary bill today
Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has said that he expects consultations on the amended Supreme Court bill to be held later today.
Yesterday, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, announced the United Right ruling coalition's plans to hold consultations with the president over the legislation drafted by the governing party Law and Justice (PiS) to meet the EU's expectations as regards judiciary changes.
The bill which PIS believes will help unlock Poland’s access to billions of euros in EU funding was scheduled to have its first reading in the Sejm, the lower house of Polish parliament, on Thursday. But it was later removed from the agenda after Duda said he had no role in drafting it.
"I expect these consultations today, the matter is important, Duda told reporters on Friday morning.
He said that he discussed the matter with Morawiecki, EU Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek and Sejm Speaker Elzbieta Witek. "They contacted me, we have an appointment," Duda added.
He said earlier that he wanted to check whether the new regulations are in line with Poland's constitution.
"I really care about these European funds, but I also care about the stability of the Polish legal order, and above all about the stability of the legal situation of citizens, but also with a full sense of responsibility for the judicial appointments of 3,000 judges that have been made in recent years," Duda said.
The Polish government has stepped up work on changes to the country's justice system after months of struggle between Warsaw and Brussels failed to ensure the release of funds from the EU's pandemic recovery funding.
Brussels has frozen Polish access to the funding because it feels Warsaw has failed to meet certain conditions, known as milestones, that will, it says, uphold the rule of law.
The current Supreme Court law was originally drafted by the President's Office and was meant to dispel the European Commission's concerns, but final amendments introduced by PiS, produced a stalemate between the EU and Poland.