Warsaw-Brussels crisis is key moment in EU’s history: dep FM

“The Poland-Brussels crisis regarding the reform of the judiciary has political motives,” Paweł Jabłoński, deputy head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the French “Le Figaro” daily, adding that it constitutes “a key moment in the history of the European Union.”

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“The European Commission ordered Poland to create a system that would ensure that judges’ appointing committees are mostly composed of judges. But this is not the case in France. In Germany, politicians appoint judges and can dismiss judges for the first two years after their appointment. In any system, it can be shown that the independence of judges is not ensured,” Mr Jabłoński stressed.

“The Union must respect the legal traditions of the Member States. We want to be respected like everyone else. The Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) act beyond their powers - they break European law,” he pointed out.

Mr Jabłoński was also asked if judges in Poland have too much power compared to parliaments.

“We want a better balance. We started our reform of the judiciary to make the system more efficient, so that judges would not be released from any responsibility as independence does not mean irresponsibility,” he explained.

The minister also criticised the blocking of the transfer of EU funds to Poland by the European Commission.

“The Commission makes it clear that it will not release the funds if we do not reform the judiciary. This decision has no legal basis... we have met all the criteria [to receive the funds]. The fact that the funds are blocked shows that some in the Commission are willing to use whatever means available to promote their political agenda,” he emphasised.

“If we do not stop it, the Commission will be able to act as it sees fit, despite the treaties. This is a key moment in the history of the European Union. Will we remain a Union of 27 sovereign states or will we become a superstate?,” He asked.

Under interim measures of July 14, Poland was obliged by the CJEU to “immediately suspend” the application of national provisions relating to the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber of the SN, in matters such as the lifting of judicial immunities. In turn, on July 15, the CJEU ruled that the system of disciplinary liability of judges in Poland is not consistent with EU law.

In mid-August, in the Polish government’s response to the EC regarding the Disciplinary Chamber, it was written that Poland would continue the judiciary’s reforms, also in the areas of judges’ responsibility. The Council of Ministers additionally informed the EC about the plans to liquidate the Chamber in its present form.