The EU’s highest court has ordered Poland to pay the European Commission a penalty of €1 million a day for non-compliance with an interim order made in July.
The penalty arises from a previous ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) against Poland, which found that changes to its courts system infringed EU law.
The ruling is the latest skirmish in a long-running battle between the commission and Poland over its judicial system.
Earlier this month, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that parts of EU treaties were incompatible with the Polish Constitution.
The case today (27 October) concerned Polish legislation that gives the disciplinary chamber of its Supreme Court jurisdiction in certain areas.
The CJEU has said that the chamber’s independence and impartiality are not guaranteed, and that it cannot be regarded as a court or tribunal in EU law.
In April, the commission took action against Poland for failing to make the changes necessary to bring its courts legislation back into line with EU law.
The CJEU later granted a commission request to adopt several interim measures, ahead of a final judgment. The court said today, however, that Poland had not complied with the order, and that it would now impose the penalty.
The CJEU added that the Polish government had not provided it with evidence that the country’s courts were complying, in principle, with its July order.
"The expressed intention to adopt, within a year, a series of measures intended to reform the Polish judicial system is not such as to prevent, in the absence of immediate action by Poland, the occurrence of serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union,” the CJEU concluded.