Negotiations over National Recovery Plan completed: Polish official

We have completed negotiations on the National Recovery Plan, Polish Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda told the Polish Press Agency on Friday. As he added, the country agreed to liquidate the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and modify ‘to some extent’ the scope of disciplinary responsibility of judges.

“We have reached an agreement on all issues that were discussed with the European Commission (EC),” Mr Buda said, adding that it (the agreement) “is the basis for the EC to accept and approve the Polish National Recovery Plan within several days.”

The liquidation of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court is envisaged by the draft amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court, submitted by Polish President Andrzej Duda. The justice committee is currently working on it. The head of the committee said that he was confident that the draft would be voted on at the next session of the Sejm (Polish parliament’s lower house), scheduled for late May.

According to the draft, a Chamber of Professional Responsibility would be created in the Supreme Court. From among all Supreme Court judges, apart from the heads of Supreme Court chambers, 33 persons would be drawn to the final selection, where the president will choose 11 judges to the composition of the Chamber of Professional Responsibility for a five-year term.

The draft is also to introduce the institution of a “test of a judge’s impartiality and independence.” The new provisions will also enable the resumption of proceedings by judges whose immunity has been lifted by the Disciplinary Chamber or who have been found liable for disciplinary action on the basis of allegations concerning a given judgment. The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in the summer of 2021 obliged Poland to immediately suspend the application of the provisions relating to the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court on issues including the waiver of judicial immunity. For failure to comply with this order, the CJEU imposed a penalty of EUR 1 million per day on the country.

Poland has around EUR 76 billion at its disposal under the Recovery Fund from the 2021-2027 cohesion policy budget. Under the National Recovery Plan, which is designed to help the post-pandemic economy, Poland is requesting EUR 23.9 billion available in grants and EUR 11.5 billion from the loan part.