The president of the main party of the conservative coalition in power in Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, announced this Saturday that they will withdraw a disciplinary measure of his controversial justice reform, in accordance with one of the claims that those responsible for the European Union. “We will abolish the Disciplinary Chamber in the form it currently has, so the object of litigation disappears,” declared the ‘number one’ of the Law and Justice training and deputy prime minister in charge of national security in an interview for the agency of PAP news.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered Warsaw on July 14 to immediately cease the activities of this disciplinary chamber of its Supreme Court. It is an institution that came into operation in February as part of the reform of the Polish judicial system and is responsible for monitoring judges. It can even take away their immunity from criminal charges or reduce their wages.
But the CJEU considered that this chamber did not provide “all the guarantees of impartiality and independence” and that “it was not protected from direct or indirect influence of the legislative and executive power.” The European Commission gave Warsaw until August 16 to commit to respecting the decisions of the Community Justice, under the threat of financial sanctions.
If it had not acceded to the demand of European justice, Poland would have risked losing European aid from the recovery fund against the pandemic, with which it expects to receive up to 36,000 million euros. Of this total, 24,000 million will be non-refundable grants and 12,000 million correspond to loans with advantageous conditions.
A strained relationship
Kaczynski argued, however, that the decision was already planned prior to the Brussels request and “does not mean that the Chamber will disappear, but it will be a completely different body.” The modification, however, could now be obstructed by the Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, author of the reform and president of one of the three parties of the coalition in power.
In fact, Ziobro declared on Friday that he “categorically refused to give in to what he called illegal blackmail” of the EU, with which Poland – by extension one of its member states – has had a tense relationship for years due to controversial reforms adopted by the Government of Warsaw.