Tuesday

18th Feb 2020

Poland may remove constitutional judges

  • Ryszard Terlecki (seated) said the "cabaret" around Poland's constitutional court cannot go on for ever. (Photo: Pawel Kula)

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) is considering removing non-loyal judges from the constitutional court to break a long-lasting dispute.

”We can’t let this cabaret go on forever,” PiS MP Ryszard Terlecki told Rzeczpospolita in an interview published on Wednesday (31 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Shortly after winning elections last year, PiS passed a law curtailing the court's powers to scrutinise legislation, and attempted to appoint loyalist judges.

The court ruled that these moves were unconstitutional.

Terlecki, head of PiS' parliamentary group, said parliament was thinking about another bill, but admitted it may be useless.

”Some judges have shown they aren’t interested in complying with the laws passed by the parliament,” he said.

”This means they no longer want to be judges. I will have to find a solution to remove these judges so that they stop harming the court.”

The EU and the Council of Europe have warned of the risk of parallel legal systems, since the government does not recognise the Constitutional Tribunal's rulings but lower courts do.

Polish prosecutors last month launched an investigation against the court's president, Andrzej Rzeplinski, for not accepting three judges appointed by PiS.

Poland's deputy PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday that the dispute would resolve itself when Rzeplinski steps down at the end of the year.

The European Commission said in July that the constitutional dispute was a threat to the rule of law in Poland and formally recommended the Polish government to recognise the top court’s rulings as well as the judges nominated by the previous parliament.

The commission gave Warsaw until 27 October to comply, or warned it could face sanctions such as losing its Council voting rights.

Analysis

EU still shy of 'nuclear option' on values

The EU commission has moved forward with its rule-of-law probe on Poland, but critics say that a better framework is needed to uphold values.

Poland tries to appease EU critics before Nato summit

The parliament passed a bill meant to address foreign critics on judicial reform. NGOs and opposition parties said it did not square with EU demands, but those demands are being kept secret, weakening their hand.

Analysis

Is Belgium heading for new elections?

Belgian coalition talks have hit a wall nine months after elections, posing the possibility of a new vote, which risks making the country even harder to govern.

News in Brief

  1. EU budget to introduce rule-of-law condition
  2. Far-right rally meets counter protests in Dresden
  3. Chief negotiator: UK will not align with EU standards
  4. Budget commissioner sold off energy shares in January
  5. German far-right group 'planned mosque attacks'
  6. German family minister urges gender quotas in boardrooms
  7. Decision on Catalan MEPs' extradition postponed again
  8. German court orders Tesla to stop cutting down trees

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us