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Poland asks EU to halt rule-of-law fines, minister says



Poland asked the European Union for a suspension of EUR1,000,000 per day fines imposed on Warsaw by its highest court for failure to implement a court order concerning judicial reforms. A Polish minister stated Friday (4 November)

The fine was dissolved in Poland after it failed to dissolve its disciplinary chamber for judges. Brussels claimed that the judge’s chamber had been politicised. This happened just over a decade before.

The fines currently amount to EUR370million, of which EUR270m was already taken from any EU funds Poland may have received.

Although Warsaw replaced the chamber by another body, critics say that the problem with judges’ independence being not protected has not been solved.

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“We have filed a motion to suspend the imposition of Sanctions after the CJEU’s (Court of Justice of the European Union), ruling regarding the Disciplinary Court,” Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland’s EU Affairs minister, said to private broadcaster Polsat NEWs.

Szynkowski Vel sek stated that the request contained “strong arguments” about the need to change the disciplinary system for judges.

An EU executive, the European Commission in Brussels, said that it had received a similar request from Poland in June.


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Christian Wigand, a spokesperson for Commission, stated that “back then we assessed that although there had been progress on certain issues… not all obligations… have being fully addressed by (Poland’s) new law(its Supreme Court).”

Since June, the shape of Poland’s Chamber of Professional Responsibility in Poland is already taking shape. President Andrzej Dauba appointed 11 judges to the body in September and its head in October.

Wigand said that the European Commission would examine the new letter to see if any developments in Poland indicate that Poland is now fully in compliance with the European Court of Justice’s decisions.

Wigand stated Poland would continue to pay court fines until the matter is resolved.

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