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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish justice minister says EU pressure over judges 'a form of aggression'

07.09.2021 23:05
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Tuesday said 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."
Audio
  • EU seeks penalties on Poland in dispute over judicial reform
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro.
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro.Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Ziobro was speaking after the executive arm of the European Union said earlier in the day it had asked the EU's top court to impose financial penalties on Poland over the activities of a judges' disciplinary chamber, stepping up its pressure on Warsaw over the rule of law.

The move came after Brussels in July threatened to fine Warsaw for disregarding a ruling by the top EU court that key judicial changes in Poland are incompatible with EU law.

Ziobro told a news conference on Tuesday that the EU's executive arm was "perfectly aware it couldn't interfere in how member states organise their judicial systems."

He argued that "this is borne out by EU treaties" as well as "verdicts issued by the constitutional tribunals of many member states."

"Let us mention not only the decision of the Polish tribunal, but also its German and, just recently, Romanian counterparts," Ziobro said, amid a long-running dispute over legal changes.

'Nothing but a form of aggression'

He told reporters that the European Commission's move was "nothing but a form of aggression" and "a legal hybrid war in the economic sense, waged against Poland."

Ziobro accused Brussels of "hypocrisy," asserting that Germany had a far more "politicised" system for appointing judges, while Spain elected its judicial council "in much the same way as Poland."

Neither the EU's executive nor its top court "seem to have anything against the German or Spanish systems," Ziobro said.

'This is about politics, not about law'

"This is about politics, not about law," Ziobro also said. "This is aggression against Poland under the guise of law, and it has other motives than defending equality of law for everyone in the EU."

Critics have said the Polish disciplinary chamber for judges is politicized, and the Court of Justice of the European Union in July ordered that it be dissolved.

Three weeks ago, Warsaw said the disputed disciplinary chamber would be dismantled as part of wider judicial reforms over the coming months.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP