European Interest

EU urges Poland to take ‘concrete measures’ over judiciary reform

Flickr/ BY-NC 2.0
A view of the Polish Supreme Court.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans has called on Poland’s parliament to address the European Union’s concerns regarding judicial reform before any compromise is reached.

“We can see some actions taken by the parliament, we are analysing them very closely and carefully. We haven’t seen an end of this process yet,” he said at a news conference with the Polish foreign minister summarising his visit to Warsaw on April 9.

“We hope to continue this dialogue. Our aim is to work out solutions,” he said. “But I can’t prejudge now and I have to wait for concrete actions, concrete measures that will be taken.”

The Commission last year triggered the procedure aimed at stripping Warsaw of voting rights in the EU.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Poland, the biggest ex-communist EU state, stands accused of subjecting courts to more government control since the nationalist-minded, eurosceptical Law and Justice (PiS) party won power in late 2015.

Under the overhaul, the justice minister was given the power to fire court heads without providing justification and subject to no review. Among other measures, PiS also decided to cut the terms of Supreme Court judges, retiring 40% of them.

The new Supreme Court judges will be appointed by the president who is a PiS ally. This politicised Supreme Court will decide directly about the validity of election results.

Last month PiS offered some concessions in the spat with the EU, but the Supreme Court called the changes “illusory”.

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