Sunday

26th May 2019

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. Former EU climate chief cheered by 40,000 activists in Denmark
  2. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  3. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  4. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  5. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  6. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  7. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  8. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Thunberg: We can still fix climate, but must start today
  2. Turnout up in Slovakia, with pro-EU liberals scoring high
  3. Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election
  4. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  5. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  6. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  7. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  8. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us