Tuesday. 29.11.2022
JUSTICE

Top EU court fines Poland 1 million euros a day over judicial reform

The Polish government has rejected the ruling as "blackmail"

HANDOUT - Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) speaks with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen during the European Union summit at The European Council. Photo: Zucchi Enzo/European Council/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) speaks with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. Photo: Zucchi Enzo/EU Council.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland on Wednesday to pay 1 million euros (1.2 million dollars) a day to the European Commission for failing to heed EU rulings demanding changes to some of its judicial reforms.

In mid-July, the top EU court found that the Polish Supreme Court's new disciplinary chamber did not guarantee impartiality and independence, and therefore infringed EU law.

Warsaw's compliance is necessary "in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law," an court official press release said.

Established in 2018, the chamber is able to dismiss any judge or prosecutor, leading some to fear it could be used to reprimand judges for insubordinate decisions, hampering their independence.

On September 9, the European Commission asked the ECJ to slap daily fines on Poland for non-implementation of the Luxembourg-based high EU court's decision. This escalated a long-standing dispute with Warsaw about a slew of domestic judicial reforms made in recent years.

"Justice systems across the European Union must be independent and fair," commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the time.

Polish government: 'Blackmail'

Poland's government has dismissed a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling demanding that Warsaw pay a daily fine of 1 million euros as "blackmail."

"The ECJ completely disregards and ignores the Polish constitution and the rulings of the Constitutional Court," deputy justice minister Sebastian Kaleta wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

He said the court was exceeding its powers. "This is yet another stage in the operation to strip Poland of its influence on the political system of our country; it is usurpation and blackmail."

The court in Luxembourg had ordered Poland to pay the daily penalty due to Warsaw's refusal to implement changes to controversial judicial reforms.

Top EU court fines Poland 1 million euros a day over judicial reform
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