Friday

19th Aug 2022

Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling

  • Warsaw. Critics say the chamber is a tool used by Poland's right-wing government to exert political influence over the judiciary (Photo: Jorge Lascar)

Some 3,500 Polish judges and prosecutors have signed an appeal for authorities to follow a recent EU court ruling, Poland's OKO press portal reported.

The signatories want Poland's disciplinary chamber for judges suspended - as decreed last week by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Among them is Polish supreme court judge Wlodzimierz Wrobel.

On Wednesday (28 July), he posted an appeal on Facebook, along with the signatures of 93 other supreme court judges.

"We, undersigned, supreme court judges appeal to all state bodies for a full implementation of the decisions of the court of justice of the European Union," said Wrobel.

He also demanded the immediate suspension of the supreme court's disciplinary chamber. He said a failure to do so would be a breach of EU law.

Critics say the chamber is a tool used by Poland's right-wing government to exert political influence over the judiciary.

Human Rights Watch, an NGO, says it is composed of ruling party loyalists "whose goal is to strip immunity from judges critical of the government."

The country's Constitutional Tribunal is also stuffed with party loyalists, and it recently ruled that the EU court had no authority to impose an injunction on legal reforms.

The tribunal's move is seen as a further assault against the primacy of EU law and the independence of Poland's judges.

At the same time, the tribunal is deciding a separate case, initiated by Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, on whether EU or Polish law has primacy in the country.

Poland has since ignored the EU ruling, triggering lawsuit threats from the European Commission.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders recently wrote to Warsaw asking them to comply. Should Poland fail to act, then "we will go back to the court asking for financial sanctions", he told reporters.

Poland's governing Law and Justice party has been initiating a series of judicial reforms since November 2015.

Around 30 laws have been implemented, shaping everything from ordinary and administrative courts to the supreme court.

The commission says some of those reforms raise serious concerns as regards the rule of law.

Earlier this month, it published a rule of law report on Poland where it highlighted the steady erosion of the public's perception of its justice system.

"The reforms of the Polish justice system, including new developments, continue to be a source of serious concerns," it said.

Warsaw is currently seeking almost €24bn in grants from the EU's €800bn pandemic recovery fund.

Poland and Hungary sanctions procedure back after pandemic

The Article 7 sanctions procedure was initially launched against Warsaw in 2017 by the EU Commission and triggered by the European Parliament in 2018 against Budapest. Now it is back on the table, after the pandemic.

Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman

The controversial Constitutional Tribunal ruled that legislation, setting out that the ombudsman stays in office until lawmakers pick a new one, was unconstitutional.

Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal

Greece has become embroiled in a wiretapping scandal that led to the resignation of its intelligence chief as well as the Greek prime minister's top aide.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us