To end a two-year battle with the European Commission over legal reforms, Poland has offered one more amendment to its controversial judicial overhaul, which critics say has undermined the judiciary.
The ruling Law and Justice party has pushed through far-reaching reforms to give politicians more control over the judicial system, forcing a number of Supreme Court judges to step down. But in the government’s latest concession, Poland will change a procedure that allowed a range of different groups to ask for closed court cases to be reopened within five years or completion.
As reported by The Financial Times, Czech Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said only the prosecutor-general and the ombudsman would be able to apply to reopen a closed case, in what he characterised as a step towards the commission.
“This… narrows the character of using this extraordinary instrument,” he said after meeting Frans Timmermans, The European Commission Vice-President, in Brussels on May 3. “We see improvements, but the time for assessment will come when the Polish parliament makes decisions,” said Timmermans.
In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted Poland’s opposition to any EU budget plan that doesn’t balance the needs of its various member states.
“The way to the full compromise over the EU budget is still very long,” Konrad Szymanski, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, told reporters in Warsaw on May 3.
Szymanski comments refer to a provision in the EU budget plan that could result in cash being withheld from Poland over its treatment of the judiciary.