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Poland fined €1m a day over controversial judicial system changes

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Poland fined €1m a day over controversial judicial system changes

European Union

Poland fined €1m a day over controversial judicial system changes

Warsaw calls European court of justice move blackmail and says penalties ‘not the right road’

Sebastian Kaleta

It said that suspending contested provisions as demanded by the ECJ – including changes to a disciplinary tribunal for judges deemed to compromise judicial independence – “is necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law”.

In response, Sebastian Kaleta, Poland’s deputy justice minister, said the ruling “completely disregards and ignores the Polish constitution and the rulings of the Polish constitutional tribunal”.

He tweeted: “It is acting beyond its competences, and abusing the institution of financial penalties and interim measures. This is the latest step of an operation aimed at detaching from Poland influence on the system of our state. It is usurpation and blackmail.”

At a summit in Brussels last week, EU leaders debated Poland’s rule of law crisis, with some member states calling for the withholding of €36bn-worth of funds due to Warsaw as part of the bloc’s pandemic recovery fund.

Morawiecki has described such threats as “a gun to our head”. The EU’s top court has also imposed daily fines of €500,000 on Poland for refusing to suspend operations at its Turow mine in southern Poland over its environmental impact.

“The road of penalties and blackmail against our country is not the right one,” Polish government spokesperson Piotr Müller tweeted. “This is not the model in which the European Union – a union of sovereign states – should operate.”

The commission is expected to seek payment immediately.

Last week, Merkel, at what is expected to be her final EU summit, warned her fellow leaders to be careful in their dealings with Poland, adding that there were fundamental issues that needed resolving.

She said: “It’s the question of how the individual members envision the EU. Is it an ever closer union or is it more nation state? And this is certainly not only an issue between Poland and the EU, but also in other member states.”

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  • European Union
  • Court of justice of the European Union
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Published at Wed, 27 Oct 2021 15:38:54 +0000

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/27/poland-fined-1m-a-day-over-controversial-judicial-reforms

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