Upper house amends Supreme Court act
The Senate, the upper house of the Polish parliament, on Tuesday evening passed a new law regulating the work of Poland's Supreme Court with 14 amendments.
The new bill is expected to unlock Poland's access to an EU post-pandemic economic recovery fund, from which Poland has been barred on rule-of-law grounds.
The EU's objections largely concern Poland's justice system, especially a disciplinary chamber for judges installed in the Polish Supreme Court, which the European Commission regards as an illegal restriction on judicial independence.
The legislation has already been passed by the Sejm, Poland's lower house.
After introducing the amendments, the Senate passed the act unanimously.
After the vote, house speaker Tomasz Grodzki said the Senate's amendments removed earlier doubts about the law's constitutionality, and made it more acceptable for the European Commission.
"We are very glad to see that the Senate has fulfilled its role by restoring constitutionality to the Supreme Court law," Grodzki told reporters.
The amendments came despite Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, the Polish EU affairs minister, warning on Tuesday that anyone changing the original legislation risks a "breakdown" in Poland's chances of getting the EU funding.