EU takes Poland to court over law undermining independence of judges

Source : 112 Ukraine

Brussels is also asking the court to make an interim order suspending the 2019 Polish law until a final judgment is delivered
21:10, 31 March 2021

European Commission
Open source

The European Commission decided to bring a case against Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in order to protect the independence of the Polish judges. This was reported by the press service of the European Commission.

"The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the law on the judiciary of 20 December 2019, which entered into force on 14 February 2020," the message reads.

The law prevents Polish courts, including by using disciplinary proceedings, from directly applying certain provisions of EU law protecting judicial independence, and from putting references for preliminary rulings on such questions to the Court of Justice.

Related: Poland changes entrance rules from March 30

In addition, the Commission considers that Poland violates EU law by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court – the independence of which is not guaranteed – to take decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they exercise their function. These matters include cases of the lifting of immunity of judges with a view to bringing criminal proceedings against them or detain them, and the consequent temporary suspension from office and the reduction of their salary.

The Commission considers that this seriously undermines judicial independence and the obligation to ensure effective legal protection, and thus the EU legal order as a whole.

Besides referring the case to the Court of Justice, the Commission also decided today to ask the Court of Justice to order interim measures so as to prevent the aggravation of serious and irreparable harm inflicted to judicial independence and the EU legal order.

Meanwhile, the Polish authorities have begun to punish ships that, in their opinion, are involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Deputy Minister of Maritime Economy of Poland Grzegorz Witkowski noted that the facilities belong to the ship owner from Germany. 

The authorities decided to impose sanctions against two vessels Krebs Geo and Krebs Jet, which are registered with the Maritime Chamber of the city of Gdansk.

Related: Ukraine's Internal Affairs Minister believes that Ukraine is better than Poland

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