European Court of Justice issues financial penalties against Poland

Ursula von der Leyen. Image: Pixabay

President Ursula von der Leyen said, “Justice systems across the European Union must be independent and fair. The rights of EU citizens must be guaranteed in the same way, wherever they live in the European Union.”

The European Commission has taken two separate decisions on September 7, both related to decisions of the Court of Justice and where the actions of the Polish authorities continue to undermine the functioning of the Polish justice system.

First, the Commission decided to request the Court of Justice to impose financial penalties on Poland to ensure compliance with the Court’s interim measures order requested under Article 279 TFEU. The order related to the functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court and the suspension of further provisions of Polish law affecting judicial independence. The Commission is asking the Court to impose a daily penalty payment on Poland for as long as the measures imposed by the Court’s order are not fully implemented.

Second, the Commission also decided to send a letter of formal notice under Article 260(2) TFEU to Poland, for not taking the necessary measures to comply fully with the judgment of the Court of Justice finding that Polish law on the disciplinary regime against judges is not compatible with EU law.

The Commission considers that Poland has not taken all the measures necessary to fully comply with the Court’s order. In particular, the provisions concerned by the order continue to be applied. For instance, the Polish authorities recently opened a disciplinary investigation against an ordinary court judge who applied the order in a case pending before him. Moreover, the Disciplinary Chamber continues functioning.

Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová said, “The rulings of the European Court of Justice must be respected across the EU. This is a must to build and nurture the necessary mutual trust between Member States and citizens alike. Recent European Court of Justice rulings regarding the independence of Polish judges have not been fully implemented in Poland. For instance, the Disciplinary Chamber is continuing some of its activities against judges, even though all those activities were supposed to be fully suspended. Today, we are taking next steps to address that situation, and we remain ready to work with Polish authorities to find solutions.”

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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