Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), The European Commission has decided to open an infringement procedure against Poland by sending a letter of formal notice to Warsaw for alleged violations of EU law.
This follows what it calls a “thorough” assessment by the Commission of the new law in Poland on the State Committee for the Examination of Russian influence on the internal security of Poland between 2007 and 2022.
This has been in force since 31 May.
– the principle of democracy;
– the principles of legality and non-retroactivity of sanctions;
– the rights to effective judicial protection and
– the requirements of EU law relating to data protection.
The activities of the committee, for example, investigations and public hearings, risking to create grave reputational damage for candidates in elections and, by finding that a person acted under Russian influence, could limit the effectiveness of the political rights of persons elected in democratic elections, according to the EC.
The Committee may impose sanctions prohibiting a public official to hold functions relating to the use of public funds for a period of up to 10 years. This is similar in nature to measures provided for in the Criminal Code. These sanctions are applicable also to behaviour which was legal at the time of conduct.
The EC said, “Thereby the law violates the principles of legality and of non-retroactivity.”
The Committee’s decisions are subject to review only by administrative courts which is limited to the requirement of respect of the law and cannot review the correctness of the assessment of facts and the weighing of evidence as conducted by the Committee.
Finally, as regards the processing of personal data, the new law does not provide for a proper legal basis for the processing nor the necessary safeguards for sensitive data. It is incompatible with EU data protection rules.
Poland can now reply to the letter of formal notice. If it does not address the Commission’s grievances, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion as the next step in the infringement procedure.