Prosecutor General asks Constitutional Tribunal about CJEU fines

The Prosecutor General has asked Poland's top court to check whether legal provisions under which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) imposed penalties on Poland are compatible with the Polish Constitution.

In September, Poland was told by the CJEU to pay EUR 500,000 for each day of non-compliance with a ruling in which the EU court ordered the closure of the Turów open-cast lignite mine near the Czech border due to its environmental impact, starting from September 20.

In October, the same court 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, which CJEU said lacked independence and could be used by the government to silence defiant judges.

On Monday, the Prosecutor General's office issued a statement in which it said that "In the opinion of the Prosecutor General, subsequent rulings of the CJEU unlawfully extend the EU's treaty competences, violating the provisions of the Polish Constitution and ignoring the rulings of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal."

According to the statement, it was therefore necessary to refer to the Constitutional Tribunal as "the court of last instance" a request to "review the legality of actions taken by the CJEU in the context of the Polish Constitution."

In the motion the Prosecutor General has asked the Constitutional Tribunal to review the conformity to the Polish Constitution of Art. 279 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union whereby "the CJEU accepts that this provision allows for the imposition of financial penalties for failure to comply with the adjudicated interim measure".

"The Prosecutor General also appealed against Article 39 of the CJEU Statute, which authorises the President of the CJEU or a judge of this Tribunal to impose on Poland interim measures relating to the shape of the system and functioning of the constitutional bodies of the Republic of Poland," the statement added.