Jourova: we want Poland to respect decisions of the EU Court of Justice

TVN24 News in English, TVN24, Reuters

"This judgement puts into question whether the rules, which the EU is based on, still apply in Poland," the Vice President of the EU Commission Vera Jourova told TVN24 on Wednesday. She was referring to the ruling issued by Poland Constitutional Tribunal earlier this year, which has challenged the EU law primacy over national laws. "The Tribunal itself raises doubts whether it’s still an independent court," she added. Earlier that day, the EU executive has launched an infringement procedure against Poland over said ruling.

The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Poland on Wednesday over rulings by the country's constitutional tribunal in July and October that challenged the primacy of EU law over national law. "The Commission considers that these rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are in breach of the general principles of autonomy, primacy, effectiveness and uniform application of Union law and the binding effect of rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union," the Commission said.

TVN24 reporter Sebastian Napieraj on Wednesday asked the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova on her take on the issue.

"I think the first reaction of the Commission was clear that we will have to act because the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, which de facto proclaimed that some of the articles of the Treaty which establishes the EU will not apply in Poland. It was shocking not only for me, but for many others. It was also visible when Prime Minister Morawiecki had his speech in the parliament.

"So, the Commission, and the president of the Commission, said clearly that the Comission will analyse this judgement and we will very probably launch the infringement procedure. This is what we did today," Vera Jourova told TVN24 on Wednesday.

She argued that "the Tribunal itself, raises doubts whether it’s still an independent court". "Because I remember well the 2016, and the whole judicary reform started by completing the number of the judges in the procedure, which was not deemed as properly founded on the law".

Vera Jourova and Mateusz MorawieckiTwitter/@VeraJourova

"This judgement puts into question whether the rules, which the EU is based on, still apply in Poland – and we speak about the architecture of the EU, where there are two strongest pillars. One is that we have one referee, one arbiter, one court which interprets the law and that is the European Court of Justice. And up to now, the decisions of this court have been respected by the member states. And the second is that in the framework of the EU competencies, the EU law has primacy over national law, including constitution. These are two main rules. To see that in one member state this is put into question, and that it may be followed by some other states, we would be just watching dismantling of the EU," Jourova said.

Asked by TVN24 reporter what exactly the EU Commission wants Poland to do, she replied that in order "to be concrete, we want Poland to respect the European Court of Justice decisions". "In the world of judicary it is especially the Disciplinary Chamber, which should stop its activities, and which should be reformed. That’s the main thing. Of course, we want to see that the evidence that Poland is still in the EU, in the sense of respecting these basic principles, respect for the court rulings and the primeacy of the EU law," she explained.

"Legally speaking, this procedure is well-known. First, we are sending the letter – which we are doing today. Then, in two months, we should gain the reply and we will analyse it. In case there will be no satisfactory reply, we will have to continue the proces by reasoned opinion, which could end up again in the European Court of Justice," Vera Jourova told TVN24.

The European

At loggerheads since 2015

The legal action by the Commission, which is the guardian of EU treaties, is an escalation of the conflict with Warsaw over the rule of law that began when Poland's ruling nationalist and euro-sceptic PiS party took power in 2015. The clash has delayed the release of billions of euros from EU recovery funds to Poland because the Commission says Poland's courts are not independent from political influence meaning the funds are not protected from misuse. In a statement, the Commission said it was also launching the infringement steps because the Polish constitutional tribunal's rulings deprived individuals seeking action through the Polish courts of the right to effective judicial protection set out in EU treaties. "Finally, the Commission has serious doubts on the independence and impartiality of the Constitutional Tribunal and considers that it no longer meets the requirements of a tribunal previously established by law," the Commission said.

Constitutional TribunalTVN24

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he did not agree with the European Commission's position and that it had misinterpreted the powers that had been conferred on it. "I think that more and more European Union member states are seeing that there must be a limit to (the EU's) competences," he said. Poland has two months to reply to the letter of formal notice sent on Wednesday. If the Commission is not satisfied with Warsaw's reply, it can send Poland a reasoned opinion requesting it to comply with EU law, again with a two-month reply period. After that, the Commission can sue Poland in the European Court of Justice, which can impose daily fines on Warsaw until it complies. It has already imposed such daily fines on Poland in two other cases, which now add up to 1.5 million euros.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24

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