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Polish lawmakers vote to scrap disputed disciplinary chamber for judges

09.06.2022 18:00
Poland’s MPs on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that strikes down a disciplinary chamber for judges, a necessary step if the country is to receive over EUR 35 billion in new funds from the European Union. 
MPs in the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) during a session on Thursday, June 9, 2022.
MPs in the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) during a session on Thursday, June 9, 2022.PAP/Piotr Nowak

Lawmakers in the Sejm (lower house of parliament) rejected most of the amendments introduced to the bill by the Senate (upper house), Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The proposal now heads to President Andrzej Duda for signature. The bill had been submitted to parliament by the president.

Judicial reforms required to access EU cash

Poland stands to receive EUR 35.4 billion for post-pandemic recovery from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

However, the release of the money “is linked to clear commitments by Poland on the independence of the judiciary,” said Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the European Commission (the EU’s executive).

She added that these commitments “must be fulfilled before any payment can be made.”

What Poland must do

The key commitment is dismantling the controversial disciplinary chamber within Poland’s Supreme Court. 

After Thursday’s vote by the Sejm, only the president’s signature is required for the disciplinary chamber to be scrapped, in line with the wishes of Brussels.

Other commitments are: changing the judicial disciplinary system and reinstating judges who have been suspended under existing regulations.

If Poland lives up to these commitments, it will receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience funds, officials told reporters.

Poland fined over rule-of-law dispute

Last year, the EU fined Poland EUR 1 million a day to prevent “serious and irreparable harm” to the bloc’s legal order and values, officials said at the time.

The EU imposed the fine until Warsaw changes its rules for disciplining judges, which according to Brussels undermine judicial independence.


Source: IAR, PAPtvpparlament.pl