European Commission launches infringement against Poland over controversial judicial reforms

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 29, 2017

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Poland over the ruling Law and Justice Party's plans to exert greater control on the national court system, which the former says is a threat to the rule of law in Warsaw. Poland was given a month to respond.

According to the European Union executive's assessment, the new law allows the Polish Minister of Justice to exert influence on individual ordinary judges though, in particular, the vague criteria for the prolongation of their mandates thereby undermining the principle of irremovability of judges. According to the law published, while decreasing the retirement age, judges will be allowed to have their mandate extended by the Minister of Justice for up to ten years for female judges and five years for male judges, under an inexistent time frame, allowing the Polish government to retain influence over the judges concerned for the remaining time of their judicial mandate.

On Friday, First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans sent a letter to Poland's foreign minister inviting him and the country's justice minister to meet in Brussels to discuss the issue.

Earlier this week, Timmermans warned that the European Commission could act on Article 7 of the EU treaty, suspending Poland's EU voting rights, if Warsaw proceeds with the law. However, he signed into law the bill on ordinary courts.

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