It is a new escalation in the struggle between the European Commission and Warsaw over the rule of law. On Wednesday 22 December the Community Executive announced that it had opened a violation procedure against Poland following a decision of its Constitutional Court, on 7 October, which challenged the precedence of European law over national law. “This case law violated the general principles of autonomy, priority, efficiency and uniform application of Union law, and the binding judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union.”Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said. Before proceeding: “The Constitutional Court no longer fulfills the requirements of an independent and impartial court established by law, as required by treaty.” The European Union, the Commission is the guardian of it.
Tendency to develop democratic centralism (…) Brussels is progressing unfortunately, but it must be stopped.”The Polish Prime Minister replied. Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that the Polish Constitutional Court responded “For all requirements of independence”. And insistence: “It is a constitutional court that deals with the Constitution, so that it is truly the supreme law of the Republic of Poland.”
The launch of this breach procedure, which could amount to referral to the European Union (EU) Court of Justice and financial sanctions, is the latest link in the battle between Warsaw and Brussels over justice issues since the nationalist conservative. The Law and Justice Party (Pis) came to power in 2015. The committee is concerned that the judicial reforms undertaken by Mateusz Morawiecki undermine the independence of the judiciary, when Warsaw claims they enable it to better fight corruption within the judiciary. The Court of Justice of the European Union has, on several occasions in these cases, condemned Poland, without making any progress.
Fine on demand 1 million euros per day
On October 27, Luxembourg judges imposed a fine of €1 million per day on Warsaw until the Supreme Court’s disciplinary division was suspended, according to a court ruling on July 14. So far, Poland has not paid anything, but the commission has warned: if nothing is done in the coming weeks, it will back down. “Amounts due since November 3, with interest in arrears” on funds allocated to the state.
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