The dispute between Warsaw and Brussels on the lack of independence of the judges worsened again Wednesday, October 27 with the condemnation of Poland to a fine of one million euros per day by the justice of the European Union.
This decision punishes Poland’s failure to comply with a judgment of the EU Court of Justice which on July 14 ordered the immediate cessation of the activities of the disciplinary chamber of the Polish Supreme Court. In a first reaction, Warsaw accused the Court of“Override and abuse” of its powers in matters of financial sanctions.
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The head of the Polish nationalist conservative government, Mateusz Morawiecki, pledged until recently to abolish this chamber, the abolition of which had already been announced in August by Warsaw but which continues to function. This body, set up as part of a controversial reform of the Polish justice system, is responsible for overseeing judges, with the power to lift their immunity to expose them to criminal prosecution or reduce their salaries.
A financial sanction called for on September 7
The CJEU estimated in July that this chamber “Did not offer all the guarantees of impartiality and independence” and was “Not immune to direct or indirect influences from the legislative and executive powers”. “Compliance with the provisional measures ordered on July 14 is necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable damage to the legal order of the European Union as well as to the values on which this Union is founded, in particular that of the State of law “, the Court noted on Wednesday.
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A financial penalty was requested from the Court on September 7 by the European Commission on the grounds that “The EU’s judicial systems must be independent and fair”. According to a European source, the penalty was to apply from Wednesday, once Poland notified of the order issued by the Court.
Warsaw has been in conflict with Brussels for several years over judicial reforms undertaken by the ruling Nationalist Conservative Party (PiS), accused of undermining the power of judges.