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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish justice minister in push to sue Germany over judicial rules

18.10.2021 21:30
Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday said he would ask the government to consider taking Germany to the European Union’s top court over what he said was a politicised system of selecting judges in the bloc's largest member.
Polands Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday urged his government to take neighbouring Germany to the European Unions Court of Justice (CJEU) over what he said was a politicised system of selecting judges in the blocs largest member.
Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday urged his government to take neighbouring Germany to the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU) over what he said was a politicised system of selecting judges in the bloc's largest member.PAP/Mateusz Marek

Appearing before reporters in Warsaw, Ziobro said that “since the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) says that the role of politicians in selecting judges in Poland raises questions about the independence of those judges, then let us ask the same question about Germany."

Ziobro told reporters that in Germany, the Bundestag lower house of parliament "has a total role, much greater than in Poland” in choosing the authorities of the country’s top court, the Federal Court of Justice, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

And so “if objections are raised about the fact that in Poland lawmakers at some point play a part in appointing judges, then in light of the bloc’s treaties, the CJEU’s conclusions must pertain all the more to the biggest country of the EU," Ziobro argued.

“Therefore, as justice minister, I will ask the government to consider taking legal action under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,” he vowed.

It would mean taking Berlin before the top EU court over political influence on judges, the PAP news agency reported.

Noting that German courts sometimes also judged in cases involving Polish businesses and citizens, Ziobro told the news conference that EU rules “must be shared and complied with by everyone."       

He said: “If it turned out that the CJEU applied different legal standards to different countries, it would serve to demonstrate where the EU is today and where it is headed, when it comes to the relations between member states and the bloc’s institutions.”

Ziobro said last month that the European Commission's decision to seek fines against his country over its system for disciplining judges was “a form of aggression” and "legal hybrid war."

Poland has been locked in a long-standing dispute with Brussels over the rule of law, including how judges are appointed and disciplined in the country’s judicial system.

The controversy has so far prevented Poland from receiving some EUR 57 million in grants and cheap loans from the EU under the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery package, the PAP news agency reported.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP