Poland may have to leave EU, Supreme Court

Poland may have to leave EU, Supreme Court
Protesters took the streets supporting the judges. Source: Getty Images
3 Min Read

Daily US Times, Warsaw: The new judicial reform proposals in Poland could have impacted its relation with the EU, country’s Supreme Court warns.

People took the streets in protest against the proposal, which could be the reason for Poland to be removed from the EU.

The proposal will allow judges to be fired if they questioned the government’s judicial reforms. Poland’s Supreme Court judges say the proposals threaten the primacy of EU law and could be an attempt to gag the judiciary.

The country has already been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding this proposal.

The proposal was proposed by the socially conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) government, judges can be punished for engaging in ‘political activity’. It says if any judge questioned the legitimacy of judges nominated by the National Council of the Judiciary could be handed a fine or in some cases dismissed.

Politicians will start discussing the proposals on Thursday.

The ruling party claims the proposal is needed to tackle the corruption in the judicial system. They also claimed the judicial system is still haunted by the communist era. EU accused the party of politicising the judiciary system since it came to power in 2015.

In a statement, the Polish Supreme Court said ‘Contradictions between Polish and EU law…. will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by EU institutions regarding an infringement of EU treaties, and in the longer run [will lead to] the need to leave the European Union.’

Critics said the proposal is intentional before a presidential election which is expected in May to allow President Andrzej Duda to pick a new head of the court.

Polish judges are nominated by the National Judicial Council (NCJ), a body that is supposed to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, and which until recently consisted of a majority of judges selected by their peers.

But ruling PiS changed the law in 2018 so that the majority of judges sitting on the NCJ were appointed by the lower house of parliament, which is controlled by the party.

European Network of Councils for the Judiciary already suspended Poland’s NCJ on the grounds it was no longer politically independent.

Earlier this month, Poland saw thousands of people protest in cities and towns to show solidarity with judges who they said were facing intimidation. They called for the reinstatement of one judge, Pawel Juszczyszyn, who was dismissed from his post for questioning the appointment of another judge by the NCJ.