European Commission is taking Poland to court again

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Didier Reynders last January in Strasbourg
NOS News
  • Rutger Mazel

    foreign editor

The European Commission is again going to the European Court of Justice to indict Poland. It is a next step in the case that revolves around the independence of the judiciary in Poland.

The Polish Constitutional Court ruled in October 2021 that Polish legislation outweighs European law. That judgment is at odds with the core principle of the EU that judgments of the European Court in Luxembourg are binding on all Member States and therefore take precedence over national legislation.

The Polish right-wing nationalist government party PiS and Brussels have been at loggerheads for years about the organization of the Polish constitutional state. That conflict concerns, among other things, the controversial disciplinary chamber for judges, which, according to the European Commission, gives the government too much influence on the judiciary.

European Commissioner Didier Reynders says on Twitter that “everyone in the EU should be able to benefit from the rules of the rule of law, including the right to an independent court.

The fact that the European Commission is now approaching the European Court has been called striking. This is mainly because just last week Polish President Duda asked the Polish Constitutional Court to review recent judicial reforms.

Payments to Poland from the EU corona recovery fund depend on these reforms. Poland wants 36 billion euros from that corona recovery fund. The Commission has not yet approved those payments. This is not expected to happen as long as Poland continues to refuse to reform the rule of law.

Puppet show

D66 MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld says in a first reaction: “It is good that the Commission is continuing with steps against the Polish government. The Constitutional Court there is a charade, with the government pulling the strings. It is far from an independent court, as EU law prescribes. Yet the timing of this step is salient. The Commission has not acted for months and is now suddenly lashing out. EU law must be fully enforced as soon as a breach is apparent, which has been for many years years clear as far as the Polish Constitutional Court is concerned.”

The Polish government does not agree with the Commission’s arguments for going to the Court in Luxembourg. “In other countries such as Spain and Germany, constitutional law is also placed above EU law. We stand by our opinion,” says a spokesperson.

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