Michał Wójcik, a member of the Council of Ministers, has called the decision of the European Commission to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) an attempt to "distract attention from his own problems".
The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it has decided to refer Poland to the CJEU regarding the law on the judiciary of 20 December 2019, which entered into force on 14 February 2020. The EC also asked the CJEU to order interim measures until it has issued a final judgment in the case.
Michał Wójcik, drew attention to the consequences of applying such an interim measure. The commission justified its proposal by "protecting the independence of Polish judges".
Michał Wójcik from the Solidarity Poland party, former deputy minister of justice and current minister in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, assessed that this was another attack by the European Commission against Poland. “Probably in this case it serves primarily to divert attention from the problems that the European Commission has when it comes to fighting the pandemic, because it has definitely failed in this field. On the other hand, the independence of judges is within them. Independence cannot be decreed with any legal act,” said Michał Wójcik in an interview with the Information Radio Agency (IAR)
Michał Wójcik also said that for several years the Polish government has been pointing out that the EU treaties leave the judiciary within the competence of the member states.
“There is no provision in the EU treaties that this is the competence of the EU. This is the competence of each member state, which is why, for example, in Germany politicians decide on the selection of judges, which we do not do in Poland,” the minister pointed out.
According to the commission the Polish law on the judiciary of December 20, 2019, “undermines the independence of Polish judges and is incompatible with the primacy of EU law. Moreover, the law prevents Polish courts, including by using disciplinary proceedings, from directly applying certain provisions of EU law protecting judicial independence, and from putting references for preliminary rulings on such questions to the Court of Justice."
According to the European Commission, Poland violates EU law, "by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court – the independence of which is not guaranteed – to take decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they exercise their function.”