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Judicial independence: ECJ condemns Poland to pay fines

Flags of the EU and Poland

The financial sanctions against Poland were requested on September 9th by the EU commission responsible for monitoring the rule of law in the EU.


(Photo: dpa)

Luxembourg The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ordered Poland to pay a daily fine of one million euros. According to a statement by the Court of Justice on Wednesday, the reason for the move is the country’s refusal to date to implement decisions by the highest court on controversial judicial reforms.

Specifically, it is particularly about the order to stop the work of the controversial disciplinary body to punish judges. According to ECJ rulings, the activity is not compatible with EU rules on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.

The financial sanctions against Poland were requested on September 9th by the EU commission responsible for monitoring the rule of law in the EU. They are now due until Poland complies with the ECJ’s orders.

“The judicial systems throughout the European Union must be independent and fair,” Commission head Ursula von der Leyen criticized at the time. Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, on the other hand, spoke of “aggression against Poland” and of a “legal hybrid war”.

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The ECJ had previously ruled in mid-July that Poland violated European law with the disciplinary body. In addition, an interim order has been issued to the country to suspend the provisions that empower the Disciplinary Body to rule on requests for the waiver of judicial immunity and issues relating to the employment and retirement of judges. The decision also affected other provisions of Polish law that concern the independence of judges.

Poland was warned beforehand

Poland then announced that the controversial disciplinary body in its current form would be abolished. In the end, however, she continued to work off old cases. The chamber has so far been considered to be the heart of the judicial reforms initiated by the PiS government. The chamber can dismiss any judge or public prosecutor. Critics fear that it could serve to reprimand judges for unpleasant decisions.

On September 20, Poland had already been fined by the ECJ for mining Turow lignite on the border with Saxony. Despite an interim ECJ order from May, Warsaw did not stop lignite mining, according to an order from ECJ Vice-President Rosario Silva de Lapuerta. Therefore, from now on, Poland will have to pay a fine of 500,000 euros to the EU budget for every day it does not comply with the order.
More: Hungary criticizes EU Commission in judicial dispute with Poland

Reference-www.handelsblatt.com

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