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Top EU court rules Polish judicial reform 'infringes EU law'

By AFP - Jun 05,2023 - Last updated at Jun 05,2023

People attend an anti-government demonstration organised by the opposition in Warsaw on Sunday (AFP photo)

LUXEMBOURG — The Court of Justice of the European Union on Monday ruled that a controversial Polish judicial reform from 2019, which notably concerns disciplinary procedures for judges, violates EU law.

"Rule of law: the Polish justice reform of December 2019 infringes EU law" because it undermines the independence and impartiality of judges, the Luxembourg-based court said in its verdict.

Brussels immediately lauded the ruling, saying the judgement "settles the matter for good".

"Today is an important day for the restoration of an independent justice in Poland," EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said.

"After today's decision, the law on the judiciary will need to be adapted accordingly... I urge the Polish authorities to comply fully with the judgement," he added.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro rejected the verdict, claiming it "was not written by judges but politicians because it constitutes a clear violation of European treaties".

"The European Union's top court is corrupt... Verdicts are written on hunting trips and during banquets drenched in alcohol," he said

He did not provide additional details beyond claiming that "European media outlets had revealed the giant [corruption] scandal" a couple of years ago.

Ziobro, who is also the EU member's prosecutor general, is the leader of the ultra-conservative Sovereign Poland Party, which is a junior coalition partner of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party.

Poland's governing conservatives have been at loggerheads with Brussels since coming to power in 2015 over claims that Warsaw fails to fully uphold EU laws particularly with regards to the judiciary.

In 2021, the Luxembourg court hit Poland with a fine of one million euros per day for refusing to suspend its contested Supreme Court disciplinary chamber.

The fines now total more than 550 million euros ($590 million).

The court said on Monday that the daily fines would now stop but that Poland would have to pay whatever amount was still due.

 

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