Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU and member state Poland are still at odds over independence of courts, with the bloc threatening to deny Warsaw access to EU funds unless Poland dissolves the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland to stop the work of the disciplinary body by today, stressing that it is not in line with EU regulations, according to DW reporting on Sunday.
The Disciplinary Chamber has the authority to discipline and suspend judges, with suspended judge Igor Tuleya warning that the government is trying to gain control over the judiciary.
“Europe should of course act more decisively and much more quickly,” Tuleya noted and added “the European Commission’s actions have been just ridiculous.” He stressed that the Disciplinary Chamber, state prosecutors and courts have been trying to silence him for six years.
Compromise could be reached
Marek Prawda, former Polish Ambassador to the EU, predicted that Warsaw is open to compromise as it sees how much money it stands to lose if it does not comply.
Jarosław Kaczyński, Deputy Prime Minister and head of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), announced the government would dissolve the Disciplinary Chamber.
Besides the Disciplinary Chamber, the ECJ ruled that the Polish National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) is not in line with EU rules as it is insufficiently independent. The KRS and the parliament appoint judges.
KRS chair Paweł Styrna claimed that the ECJ ruling is based on opinion rather than fact, adding that the KRS “is free from all influence and all political factors as well as free from any pressure from lawmakers.”
The spat between Poland and the EU could escalate or be diffused later this month, when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal is to rule on whether the Polish constitution has primacy over EU regulations.