The European Commission on September 12 decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation. This is the next stage in the infringement procedure.
If Warsaw does not take the necessary measures to comply within a month, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.
According to a European Commission press release, this decision comes following a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent in July 2017 concerning the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.
The European Commission maintains its position that the Polish legislation is incompatible with EU law because by introducing a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years), it discriminates against individuals based on gender.
According to Brussels, this is contrary to Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.
The Commission has also raised legal concerns that by giving the justice minister the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, as well as to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents, the independence of Polish courts will be undermined, contrary to the Treaty on European Union in connection with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Brussels has warned that the new rules allow the justice minister to influence individual judges.