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English Section

EU pressure over judges ‘about politics, not rule of law': Polish deputy FM

23.07.2021 08:00
The European Commission’s push to punish Poland over key judicial changes is "all about politics, not the rule of law,” a Polish deputy foreign minister has said.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński.Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

The European Union's executive arm this week gave Poland until August 16 to comply with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that Poland's system for disciplining judges broke EU law and should be suspended.

Brussels “uses legal arguments solely as an instrument in a political struggle,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said after the EU’s executive threatened to fine Warsaw over the Polish disciplinary system.

In an interview with broadcaster Telewizja Republika, Jabłoński said the top EU court “has been expanding the interpretation of European law in order to extend the EU’s powers beyond what is provided for in the treaties.”

He argued that the CJEU is “using a method of accomplished facts” and that more than 10 member states “have had similar cases concerning national and EU laws, but only Poland is facing financial consequences.”

“Unfortunately, this is a sign of unequal treatment within the EU,” Jabłoński told Telewizja Republika on Wednesday.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has said that the ruling by the EU’s top court that the Polish system for disciplining judges contravenes the bloc's laws “smacks of colonial thinking.”

Ziobro told reporters last week the ruling had been handed down “at the behest of the European Commission,” the EU's executive arm, amid a long-standing feud over alleged rule-of-law breaches between Brussels and Warsaw.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled last Thursday that Poland's system for disciplining judges undercut the bloc's laws, adding to an escalating battle over democratic rules.

The top EU court in April last year ordered Poland to immediately suspend the disciplinary chamber within its Supreme Court amid criticism that the panel could punish judges for their decisions.

Last Wednesday, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that interim measures imposed by the EU’s top court on the Polish justice system were against the national constitution.

The ruling came amid a long-standing dispute over whether national law takes precedence over EU law.

(jh/gs)

 Source: PAP