Tuesday

13th Nov 2018

EU steps up infringement case against Poland

  • EU Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans (l) and Polish PM Beata Szydlo (r). The EU executive is asking Poland to modify its judicial reforms. (Photo: Polish Prime Minister's Office)

The European Commission has taken a new step in its action against Poland over the rule of law in the country.

On Tuesday (12 September), the EU executive decided to send a so-called reasoned opinion to the Polish government.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

This is the second step in an infringement procedure that the commission launched in July over a reform of the judiciary.

The commission said that the law, which was introduced in July, is discriminatory because it sets different retirement ages for men and women - respectively 65 and 60. It said the measure was contrary to the EU treaty and a directive on gender equality in employment.

It also said it was concerned by a provision that gives the Polish justice minister the power to extend the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, and to dismiss and appoint court presidents.

Poland's government answered the commission at the end of August, but its reply hasn't been considered satisfactory.

If the Polish government fails to address the commission's renewed concerns within a month, the commission will have the right to bring the case to the EU Court of Justice.

The reform in question was part of a set of laws that put the Polish justice system under the control of the government.

The new legislation led the commission to send recommendations to the Polish government as part of a rule of law procedure launched in January 2016.

The infringement procedure on gender discrimination and on how the minister can prolong or dismiss judges, however, is distinct from the rule of law procedure.

At the end of August, the Polish government said that the commission's remarks over the judiciary reforms were "groundless".

But the commission is still considering whether to trigger Article 7, a sanction procedure that could lead to the suspension of Poland's voting rights in the Council of the EU, where national ministers meet.

The situation in Poland will be discussed by EU ministers on 25 September.

Article 7 not mentioned in Poland probe update

While Polish president Andrzej Duda proposes amendments to further increase political control over the judiciary, EU ministers voice support for the rule of law, but make no mention of the Article 7 sanctions.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us