Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Polish MPs have agreed to implement judicial reforms to unblock EU funds that are on hold over a dispute with the European Commission.
More than 35 billion euro of EU funds for coronavirus crisis recovery are blocked, with Polish MPs hoping that the EC will approve proposed reforms and release the money, according to Reuters reporting on Friday.
The MPs agreed on a judicial reform bill on Thursday and based it on the proposals of President Andrzej Duda.
The United Poland party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, objected to proposed impartiality tests for judges, warning that it could cause the judicial system to grind to a halt.
According to the bill agreed on Thursday, the article that would allow previously passed verdicts to be challenged for impartiality was scrapped, according to PAP press agency.
Articles that would allow impartiality tests for judges in ongoing cases were not scrapped.
The amendments include an article that affirms primacy of the Polish Constitution over EU rules and other norms or international organisations.
Head of the President’s Office Małgorzata Paprocka pointed out that she is happy the President’s draft was adopted and added “I hope that the end is in sight and it will soon become binding law.”
Chamber to be replaced
According to the bill, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court would be replaced with a new body. The EC previously stressed that the Chamber is not in line with EU rules and critics warned that the Chamber was politicised.
The Commission previously called on Poland to dissolve the Chamber and pointed out that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered the dissolution. The EC stressed that Poland will not get access to EU funds until it addresses the issue.
The ECJ imposed a fine of 1 million euro per day on Poland for not dissolving the Chamber.
While the ruling coalition agreed on the amendments based on Duda’s draft, critics say that the reform should do more to ensure that judges are not pressured politically.
The bill is to be put to a vote in the coming period and the Polish parliament may pass it by the end of the month