Monday, November 29

Satisfaction in Brussels for Poland’s step back in its judicial reform




The European Commission has clearly won the first round of the pulse that the populist national government of Poland was holding. The threat of delaying the process for the disbursement of European aid for economic recovery has taken effect and the head of the ruling party (PiS) and in fact the country’s top leader, Jarosław Kaczynski, came to the fore this Saturday for the night to announce that he finally agrees to dissolve a disciplinary chamber intended to control judges that the EU courts had declared contrary to the treaties.

In reality, what Kaczynski has promised is to dissolve this disciplinary chamber to replace it with another, but he assures that he does so against his will and in a way that accuses the European justice of exceeding its powers. “We will dissolve the Disciplinary Chamber as it currently works and in this way the issue of the dispute will disappear,” Kaczynski told the state news agency PAP in an interview, but added that he does not accept “sentences of this type because they definitely go beyond the European treaties’. The PiS leader said that the first bill with a new disciplinary regime will be drawn up in September and will then be presented by the government.

For Witold Gadomski, an analyst for the newspaper ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’, Kaczynski’s gesture is due to purely pragmatic reasons, since “he does not want to cross the fine line between a broken democracy and an open dictatorship, because he knows that state institutions, including those in charge of enforce the law, they are not efficient and reliable enough to suppress social resistance, which it would raise and which would probably be very important ”.

The European Commission had given Poland until August 16 to comply with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling that the disciplinary chamber violates EU law and should be suspended. The Commission, which must ensure that all member countries respect the rule of law, believed that this chamber could be used to exercise political control over sentences and with one hand it opened a sanctioning file against Poland, while with the other it kept in The processing of the recovery plan was a limbo and therefore did not open the tap of community aid to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, had said that the ruling of the EU higher court ordering the suspension of the disciplinary chamber “smells of colonial thinking” and the Constitutional Court ruled at the request of the government that Polish laws are up to date. above the European ones. European law experts have viewed this disciplinary mechanism as the deepest erosion of democratic norms in Poland, which under the PiS government has violated quite a few. After the ruling of the EU’s high court, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, gave Warsaw until August 16 as the deadline to remove it.

On the eve of Kaczyński’s remarks, Minister Ziobro had accused the EU of “blackmailing” Poland and went so far as to say that the country should not remain part of the EU at any cost. “I am a firm opponent of succumbing to the illegal blackmail of the European Union,” he told the daily ‘Rzeczpospolita’.

Now the next step will be to know the more formal reaction of the Commission regarding the recovery plan that it maintains in a kind of freezer. While the website of the community executive is full of references to the first disbursements of significant amounts of money to countries of all kinds (Portugal and Belgium are the last beneficiaries who are distributed three billion in advances this week) theoretically the services of the General Directorate of Economy and Finance is still waiting to analyze the “clarifications” that they have requested from the Polish executive.

The step taken by Warsaw also leaves only the Hungarian Viktor Orban, who has another legal battle with the Commission and whose recovery plan is also “frozen”.

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