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Polish parliament seeks rule of law compromise to unlock EU funds

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Ziobro i "odpolitycznianie" sądów
Ziobro i "odpolitycznianie" sądówTVN24
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TVN24Minister Ziobro and "depoliticisation" of courts

Polish lawmakers will on Wednesday try to thrash out a compromise on changes to the country's judicial system that could unblock billions of euros in EU pandemic recovery funds blocked due to a dispute over the rule of law.

The European Union says Warsaw must implement a ruling from the bloc's top court that requires it to dissolve a contested disciplinary chamber for judges in order to get the 36 billion euros of grants and loans. The EU's top court has also imposed fines of 1 million euros a day for Poland failing to disband the chamber, but the ruling camp is divided over how to implement the changes. A set of proposals drawn up by President Andrzej Duda, an ally of ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) will form the basis of the reforms, lawmakers say, but junior coalition partner United Poland is demanding amendments. The party, led by the architect of reforms Brussels says undermine the independence of the courts, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, has said it believes an impartiality test for judges contained in Duda's proposals could paralyse the legal system.

Session of the Sejm Justice and Human Rights CommitteeSejm

"We believe that the main danger which results from the proposed bill is that it allows challenges to the status of judges generally," United Poland lawmaker and Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta said. With the government struggling to command a razor-thin majority in parliament, the arch-conservative United Poland's support will be crucial for the bill, currently being worked on by a parliamentary commission, to pass. However, the head of Duda's office, Paweł Szrot, said on Wednesday that the possibility of demanding a test of a judge's impartiality must stay in the bill, but that he believed a compromise could be found. "If United Poland is afraid of the paralysis of the justice system... as a result of the independence test - we do not agree with this, of course, but we are ready to talk about the details," he told the website.

Zbigniew Ziobro in the SejmTVN24

PiS lawmaker Marek Ast said that the commission was unlikely to agree on a final version of the bill to send to parliament before Thursday, but with the president's signature necessary for any bill to become law it was clear that amendments would have to be acceptable to him. "If this project is rewritten, probably, in the end, there may also be a risk that the president will not approve or sign this law," he said.

Civic Platform MP Borys Budka announced on Wednesday that the Civic Coalition parliamentary club, along with the Left, Polish People's Party and the 2050 parliamentary circle would submit a no confidence motion against Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro.

"Today there is no person more harmful to Polish national interest," Budka said, adding that "the list of faults is very long".


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Sejm

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