Poland appears to be backing away from the struggle with the European Union over the country’s judicial reforms. For example, the current disciplinary commission will be abolished and reformed. Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, said on Saturday.
Judicial reforms in Poland were met with criticism at home and abroad for some time. In particular, the creation (in 2017) of a disciplinary chamber or chamber within the Supreme Court sparked opposition and put Poland on a collision course with the European Union. Critics believe that the disciplinary chamber is at the fore of the conservative nationalist ruling Law and Justice Party and that the body can be misused to punish critical judges.
The European Court of Justice said in a scathing ruling in July that the independence of the judiciary was no longer guaranteed and called for the activities of the Disciplinary Chamber to be suspended. Then the European Commission presented an ultimatum to Poland. Poland has been given until August 16 to respect the European Court’s ruling or risk financial sanctions.
After criticism and legal wrangling, the Polish government now appears to be meeting the European Commission’s demands. “We are abolishing the disciplinary chamber in the form in which it is currently operating and thus the subject of our dispute (with the European Union) disappears,” party leader Kaczynski said in a conversation with the Polish news agency on Saturday.
According to Kaczynski, the government will present proposals to reform the disciplinary commission in September. The head of the Polish Supreme Court made it clear last week that no new cases will be submitted to the disciplinary board for the time being.
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