Polish president unveils bill to end row with EU over judicial overhaul

Poland’s president on Thursday said he was proposing a bill to disband a controversial disciplinary chamber for judges, in a bid to help end a spat with Brussels over the rule of law and unlock European Union funds for his country.

Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Polish President Andrzej Duda.Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

Andrzej Duda told reporters he was submitting the new legislation to parliament in the hope the initiative would enable the government to diffuse the rule-of-law row and secure the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery funds.

The EU’s top court in October ordered Poland to pay a daily fine of EUR 1 million for not suspending the contested disciplinary chamber, adding to pressure on Warsaw over the rule of law.

Amid a dispute over access to the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery funds, Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said last year that his country was considering using its veto power in the European Council to block some EU initiatives it opposed.

Müller also accused the EU of „blackmail” after the bloc’s top court imposed the fine on Warsaw for maintaining the disciplinary system for judges, a key pillar of its disputed judicial reforms.

Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said in November that his country was entitled to reform its judicial system, „like any other member” of the 27-nation bloc.

The bloc’s chief executive, Ursula von der Leyen, said last year that Poland must undo its disciplinary system for judges to unlock access to billions of euros of COVID-19 recovery funds from EU coffers.

(gs)

Source: PAP

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