Amid continuous violations of the principle of judicial independence by the Polish government after the new national Law on the Supreme Court was voted and applicator, the European Commission will activate the next step of an infringement procedure by asking the European Court of Justice to suspend the application of Poland’s new Supreme Court law, according to the deputy European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.
The Polish government has moved to force the early retirement of several of the country’s Supreme Court judges, who will then be replaced with new judges that critics worry will be closely aligned with Poland’s ruling party.
The College of the Commissioners has requested that the European Court of Justice halt Warsaw’s move and restore the situation back to the status quo as of April 3 this year.
Brussels’ legal authority to nullify Poland’s new law is based on the Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union whereby the Commission, together with the European Parliament and the Council, is responsible for guaranteeing the respect of the rule of law as a fundamental value.
Since January 2016, the Commission has, unsuccessfully, tried to engage the arch-conservative government in a constructive dialogue would bring the Supreme Court law in line with the EU’s Rule of Law Framework.
Due to the lack of progress, the European Commission submitted a proposal to determine that Poland’s forced retirement law for judges poses a clear risk to the EU’s common values, as specified in the European Treaty. The Commission issued a formal notice to Poland on July 2, a move that had little effect as the Polish government had already rejected the Commission’s concerns a month earlier.
Earlier in September, a second hearing on the rule of law in Poland was organised in the General Affairs Council, where once more, Warsaw refused to propose any measures to address the concerns. The Commission reiterated that if the ongoing infringement procedure does not stop, Poland fundamentally runs the risk of destroying the rule of law in the country.