The European Union has taken disciplinary measures against Poland. The unprecedented move came after the European Union found Warsaw’s “judicial reforms threatened the rule of law.”
The government of Poland has been given three months to address the EU concern regarding the 13 new laws that the commission believes allow the government to ‘interfere’ the judiciary ‘significantly’.
The Polish government, however, defied the EU ultimatum by its President Duda signing two more bills to, what they say, “reform the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary.”
Labeling the EU move as a political one, the conservative Polish government has reiterated its ‘promise’ to improve the Polish judiciary system and fight corruption.
“Poland is as devoted to the rule of law as the rest of the EU. Current judiciary reform is deeply needed. The dialogue between the Commission and Warsaw needs to be both open and honest. I believe that Poland’s sovereignty and the idea of United Europe can be reconciled,” said the Polish Prime Minister.
The Polish government has been alleging that the common Polish people lost faith in the judiciary of Poland. So, the reforms were due to restore the faith of the common people in the justice system and curb inefficiency.
The European Commission has been monitoring the situation in Poland for some time. The 28-member bloc, however, described the Polish problem as a ‘common concern’ for all of the member states.
Lately, in Brussels meeting, the commission invoked the article 7, known as disciplinary measures, to ask Poland to follow certain instructions.
Poland is as devoted to the rule of law as the rest of the EU. Current judiciary reform is deeply needed. The dialogue between the Commission and Warsaw needs to be both open and honest. I believe that Poland’s sovereignty and the idea of United Europe can be reconciled.
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) December 20, 2017
The commission asked Warsaw not to lower the retirement age of the current judges. BBC quoted EU disciplinary measures that It asked Warsaw “to remove the discretionary power of the president to prolong the mandate of Supreme Court judges, to remove the new retirement regime for judges including the discretionary powers of the Minister of Justice, to restore the independence and legitimacy of the Constitutional Tribunal.”
The vice president of the Commission Frans Timmermans said, “After two years of trying for dialogue, of course, we are frustrated that we haven’t achieved what we want to, so now we’re encouraging the council and Parliament to support us.”
It is with a heavy heart that we have activated Article 7(1). But the facts leave us with no choice. We have no other option. This is not just about Poland, it is about the EU as a whole. We continue to hope that we can enter into a more fruitful dialogue.
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) December 20, 2017
Frans Timmermans, however, said the article 7 will be revoked if the government of Poland addresses the issue within the stipulated three months period.
If Warsaw fails to address the EU concern, the member states will be asked vote if Warsaw is violating “EU Standard.”
So Theresa May will join other EU leaders in condemning Poland’s assault on the rule of law & an independent judiciary while saying nothing about Paul Dacre’s. Seems to sum everything up perfectly.
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) December 20, 2017
To pass a move like this requires 22 votes out 28. If passed, it may lead to suspension of Poland from voting rights at EU summit.
Hungary, however, said it would protect the back of Poland by vetoing any such move by the Commission using the nuclear option that requires the support of every single country to pass that move.