Poland warns that there will be no EU recovery fund without judicial reform

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European Commission update

The judicial commissioner warned that if Poland is to start accepting EU recovery funds, Poland will need to prove that it no longer defies the European Court of Justice on issues of judicial independence, because he called for fines to put real pressure on Warsaw to change course.

Didier Reynders said in an interview that the EU does not want To pay Any of Poland’s 36 billion euros Already applied Because according to the Covid-19 recovery plan that the European Union is awaiting approval by the European Commission, its judge disciplinary system has not “real changed”.

After the Commission asked the European Court of Justice Fine Poland In ignoring its decision, Reynders added that the fine should be as high as 1 million euros per day, although he emphasized that the decision depends on the court.

The committee and Poland’s conservative nationalist ruling party have been involved in long-term disputes over reforms that gave it power over the judiciary, especially a controversial disciplinary chamber that punishes judges. This fight has raised wider concerns about Poland’s respect for EU law.

The dispute has intensified in recent months as Poland tried to persuade the Commission to approve its large-scale propaganda to fund the recovery of the European Union, even though it ignored two European Court of Justice rulings.

Tuesday, the committee Said After Poland failed to comply with the so-called interim measures imposed on Warsaw’s judicial disciplinary system in July, it asked the European Court of Justice to fine Poland.

The committee added that it will initiate a separate procedure for Warsaw’s failure to comply with the second European Court of Justice ruling, declaring that the Disciplinary Chamber is not in compliance with EU law because it does not guarantee judicial impartiality and independence.

Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice: “Our so-called dialogue with Poland on this matter is coming to an end” © Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Reynders stated that, given that the rules are now subject to a clear ruling by the European Court of Justice, Poland has come to an “end” in its dialogue with the Commission on the legitimacy of its regime.

“I must say that our so-called dialogue with Poland is coming to an end. We tried to have a real dialogue through some letters and some documents, and then before the court,” he said. “We have received a positive response from the court, but Poland has no intention to fully comply with the European Court of Justice’s ruling, so the next step is financial.”

After the committee’s announcement on Tuesday, senior politicians from Poland’s ruling party accused the committee of launching a “war” against Poland. But the government seems to have adopted a more conciliatory tone, because both Warsaw and Brussels are worried that a further escalation of the situation may anger the Euro-skeptical views of the fifth-largest member of the European Union.

Michal Dworczyk, the chief of staff of Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki, said on Wednesday that a “misunderstanding” between Warsaw and Brussels may have led to the threats raised by the committee.

“Everything shows this [disciplinary] As part of the legislative work, the Chamber of Commerce will be liquidated,” he told local radio. “Maybe the committee has misunderstood some issues, so we will clarify the issue in the European Court of Justice proceedings. “

A senior Polish official said that Warsaw believes Ursula von der Leyen, the chairman of the committee, is threatening it because she fears that the European Parliament will strongly oppose it because it is not firm enough on the rule of law. The person familiar with the matter added that the increasing pressure from Brussels has made domestic political compromises with respect to the Disciplinary Chamber more difficult to find.

“[The commission] Must find a solution to the problem [legal] Supreme,” the senior official said. “They are helping Eurosceptics. .. Huge damage has been caused. “

Von der Lein will speak at the annual State of the Union address for members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week. Due to a dispute with Brussels over the rule of law, restoration plans in Poland and Hungary are currently blocked.

Disputes over the Polish legal system are seen as particularly dangerous in Brussels, because it involves the basic question of whether member states are willing to respect EU law and the supremacy of the Luxembourg courts.

Last week, EU Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (Paolo Gentiloni) stated that Warsaw’s response to the Commission’s insistence on the supremacy of EU law will affect the payment of the Pandemic Recovery Fund.

Reynders pointed to a more targeted requirement that its agreed recovery plan includes clear conditions for disciplinary reform and compliance with the European Court of Justice in this matter. “You need to show that you are heading in a good direction,” he said.

“It’s quite difficult [for the commission] Approval of the financial plan without actual conditions regarding the judge’s disciplinary system, because we are in the final stage of the process and we [asked] Impose economic sanctions in court,” Reynders said.

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