European Commission threatens Warsaw with depriving it the right to vote in the EU
Poland is one step closer to becoming the first EU country to see its voting rights jeopardized. Brussels has given an ultimatum to the Polish authorities to withdraw the reform that subordinates the judicial branch to political control. The European Union warned it could still pursue unprecedented sanctions against said country, trying to pressure the government as both sides weigh their next moves after the president vetoed the legislation to replace the entire Supreme Court.
Poland and the EU are in an extraordinary standoff over whether the former communist country can put virtually the entire judiciary under the control of the justice minister and remain a full-fledged member of the union. For the Commission, further reforms of the Polish judicial system, in addition to those of the Constitutional Court, aggravate the "systematic threats" to the rule of law in the country.
In regard to the recommendation, the Commission refers to four legislative acts adopted by the Polish government: The Supreme Court Act, the National Judicial Council Act, the Ordinary Courts Organization Act, and the School Act National Judicial Branch. These laws, although two of them have been vetoed by Polish President Andrzej Duda, "undermine the independence of the judiciary in Poland," according to the European executive; Brussels has put a red line: if Warsaw decides to take any action to force the judges of the Supreme Court to withdraw, the Commission will activate Article 7.
With regard to the infringement procedure, the EU is particularly concerned about the Ordinary Courts Organization Act which includes discrimination in the age of retirement of judges on the basis of gender. In addition, the Commission will formally express its concern about the reform to extend the mandate of judges of retirement age and the removal and appointment of the presidents of the courts to the Minister of Justice. The advantage of this procedure, which will be formally initiated the same day the standard is published in the Polish official gazette, is that it does not require the participation of States.
Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella
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