Ruling camp junior partner praises Duda for not signing judiciary bill

According to Ziobro, the law would not solve any problems. Leszek Szymański/PAP

The leader of a small Eurosceptic ally in Poland's ruling United Right coalition has praised the president's decision to refer a judiciary reform bill to the Constitutional Tribunal for an evaluation.

The recently-passed reform is meant to meet EU requirements for the release of billions of euros in post-pandemic recovery funding for Poland.

"It's good that, instead of signing the bill on the Supreme Court, the president decided to refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal," Zbigniew Ziobro, the leader of Solidary Poland and the justice minister, told reporters on Saturday.

"We made an appeal to the president to veto the bill, but the decision to refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal is surely better than signing it," Ziobro said.

President Andrzej Duda announced on Friday evening that he would send the bill to Poland's top court to assess its compliance with the constitution first, in what he described as a "preventative measure."

According to Ziobro, the law would not solve any problems.

"Poland would not receive any money from the post-pandemic recovery fund, while the law would deepen disorganisation, chaos and rebellion in the Polish judiciary," Ziobro said.

The government promoted the reform in order to meet one of the conditions set by the European Commission (EC) to release the funding. The EC says some of the government's justice reforms have infringed upon European values, but Solidary Poland has opposed any leniency in the conflict with Brussels.

The EU's objections largely concern Poland's justice system, especially a disciplinary chamber for judges in the Polish Supreme Court, which the European Commission regards as an illegal restriction on judicial independence.

The new legislation could remove some of the EU's misgivings by moving all disciplinary and immunity cases of judges to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Poland is due to receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans from the EU's post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility, a fund that most other EU members are already spending money from.