Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Jourova 2018

Vĕra Jourová, Member of the EC in charge of Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, the European Commission has launched an infringement procedure by sending a Letter of Formal Notice to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Supreme Court.

On 3 July, 27 out of 72 Supreme Court judges face the risk of being forced to retire – more than one in every three judges – due to the fact that the new Polish law on the Supreme Court lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. This measure also applies to the First President of the Supreme Court, whose 6-year mandate would be prematurely terminated. According to the law, current judges are given the possibility to declare their will to have their mandate prolonged by the President of the Republic, which can be granted for a period of three years and renewed once. There are no criteria established for the President’s decision and there is no possibility for a judicial review of this decision.

The Commission is of the opinion that these measures undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

While the Polish Supreme Court law has already been discussed in the Rule of Law dialogue between the Commission and the Polish authorities, it has not been satisfactorily addressed through this process. The Commission believes that the introduction of a consultation of the National Council for the Judiciary (NCJ) does not constitute an effective safeguard, as argued by the Polish authorities. The NCJ’s opinion is not binding and is based on vague criteria. Moreover, following the reform of 8 December 2017, the NCJ is now composed of judges-members appointed by the Polish Parliament – which is not in line with European standards on judicial independence.

Given the lack of progress through the Rule of Law dialogue, and the imminent implementation of the new retirement regime for Supreme Court judges, the Commission decided to launch this infringement procedure as a matter of urgency. The Polish government will have one month to reply to the Commission’s Letter of Formal Notice. At the same time, the Commission stands ready to continue the ongoing rule of law dialogue with Poland, which remains the Commission’s preferred channel for resolving the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.

Background

The rule of law is one of the common values upon which the European Union is founded. It is enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union. The European Commission, together with the European Parliament and the Council, is responsible under the Treaties for guaranteeing the respect of the rule of law as a fundamental value of our Union and making sure that EU law, values and principles are respected.

Events in Poland led the European Commission to open a dialogue with the Polish Government in January 2016 under the Rule of Law Framework. The Commission keeps the European Parliament and Council regularly and closely informed.

On 29 July 2017* the Commission launched an infringement procedure on the Polish Law on Ordinary Courts, also on the grounds of its retirement previsions and their impact on the independence of the judiciary. The Commission referred this case to the Court of Justice on 20 December 2017.

Also on 20 December 2017, the Commission invoked the Article 7(1) procedure for the first time, by submitting a Reasoned Proposal for a Decision of the Council on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law by Poland[1].

At the General Affairs Council hearing on Poland on 26 June, in the context of the Article 7(1) procedure, no indication was given by the Polish authorities of forthcoming measures to address the Commission’s outstanding concerns. The College of Commissioners therefore decided on 27 June 2018 to empower First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to launch this infringement procedure. The Commission stands ready to continue the ongoing rule of law dialogue with Poland, which remains the Commission’s preferred channel for resolving the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus: European standards for medical supplies made freely available to facilitate increase of production

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

The British are the most positive in Europe on the benefits of immigration

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

Climate change is threatening Switzerland’s stunning scenery

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

These are the 10 most in-demand skills of 2019, according to LinkedIn

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

“TTIP can boost the European project”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015 on TTIP

Catalysing change for gender equality, co-authored by two United Nations Under-Secretary Generals

Betazone: The Beauty of Inclusion

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional €4.9 billion

Amazon fires: Health Effects, Near and Far

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Austria: reforms will be necessary to uphold high well-being levels

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

$683 million appeal to deliver reproductive health services, where they’re most needed

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

The real cost of addiction

Reimagining the future for skills: What we learned from young people

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Coronavirus: truth and myth on personal risk perception

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

Von der Leyen on EU long-term budget: our opportunity to make Europe fit for the future

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

Mirrored classroom display highlights scale of massive education crisis

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Why the evolution of blockchain reliability is critical to protecting your digital assets

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my local area?

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

Here’s what you need to know about the UK’s booming second-hand economy

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

EU-Vietnam trade agreement enters into force

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

OECD Secretary-General: coronavirus “war” demands joint action

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

A new dawn for Europe: Joint op-ed by President von der Leyen, President Michel and President Sassoli

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s