Ruling party says it will pass judiciary changes required by EC fast

European Commission JULIEN WARNAND/PAP

Legislation that could unlock Poland’s access to billions of euros in EU funding by meeting conditions on judicial reform set by the European Commission (EC) will be pushed through parliament as quickly as possible, a spokesman for the ruling party has said.

Brussels has so far frozen Poland out of post-pandemic recovery funding, saying the government has failed to withdraw or amend changes to the Polish judicial system it feels threaten the rule of law.

For Poland to get the money it must now meet certain conditions, or milestones, related to the rule of law.

On Tuesday, Law and Justice (PiS) the governing party, filed an amended Supreme Court bill with the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, which proposes that all disciplinary issues concerning judges be settled by the top administrative court instead of the Supreme Court's Chamber of Professional Responsibility.

The draft also introduces some more precise guidelines as to when to apply an independence test for justices.

Later on Tuesday, an EU source told PAP that the EC commissioners are said to have approved the draft legislative changes to Poland's judicial system.

On Wednesday, Rafal Bochenek, the PiS spokesman, said: "We have initial assurances from the EU Justice Commissioner that the adoption of these solutions will release (National Recovery Plan - PAP) KPO funds for Poland."

He added that lawmakers want to process the draft amendment to the Supreme Court Act "as quickly as possible, so that we can start submitting an application for payment of funds from the KPO."

The KPO sets out how Poland will spend the funds.