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EU happy with Polish rule-of-law reforms

01 Mar 2024 / rule of law Print

EU happy with Polish rule-of-law reforms

The European Commission has cleared the way for Poland to receive up to €137 billion in EU funds, after expressing satisfaction with changes made to strengthen the independence of the judiciary.

The commission said that Poland had fulfilled its pledge to strengthen important aspects of the independence of the Polish judiciary through reforming the disciplinary regime for judges.

This move released up to €59.8 billion under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

Action plan

The EU body also found that Poland had implemented measures to ensure that there were mechanisms and arrangements in place so that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights was respected by a range of other programmes to be funded by the EU up to 2027.

This allows the country access to up to €76.5 billion.

The commission also welcomed the commitment of the Polish government to address the EU’s long-standing rule-of-law concerns.

At a meeting last week, the Polish authorities presented what the commission described as an “ambitious” action plan to address issues raised by the commission under the article 7(1) procedure, which allows the EU to suspend certain rights.

According to the EU body, the plan included “a clear affirmation” of Poland’s commitment to the respect of the primacy of EU law, and of the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

Disciplinary chamber

Among the commission’s main concerns was the introduction of a disciplinary chamber for Poland’s Supreme Court. The EU body argued that this body’s independence and impartiality were not guaranteed.

This chamber was abolished and replaced by an independent and impartial court though a law adopted in 2022.

“The disciplinary regime has been reformed, and safeguards are in place so that judges no longer face a risk of disciplinary liability for the content of their judgments or for applying EU law,” the commission stated.

A new Polish government, headed by former EU Council President Donald Tusk, took office last year.

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