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EU wants Poland’s Supreme Court disciplinary chamber suspended

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The European
Commission has asked the EU’s top court to suspend the Poland’s chamber set up
to discipline judges. The court ruled in December that the disciplinary chamber
was not independent.

The European
Commission said on Tuesday they will ask the EU’s top court to temporarily
suspend the functioning of the disciplinary chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court.

This may be
a setback to the euro-skeptic Polish government, which immediately queried
the move.

The disciplinary chamber was introduced by Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party as part of ongoing judicial reforms that has caused wrangling between the EU and member state Poland.

The disciplinary chamber, directly answering to the PiS, was set up to discipline Polish judges. Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova tweeted that the EU “remain ready to engage in constructive dialogue.” 

The
Commission, which is the EU’s executive branch, said that they made the
decision after the European Court of Justice ruled in December that
the Polish Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber was not independent.

“Despite
the judgments, the Disciplinary Chamber continues to operate, creating a risk
of irreparable damage for Polish judges and increasing the chilling effect on
the Polish judiciary,” said the Commission in a statement.

“Today,
the European Commission decided to ask the Court of Justice to impose interim
measures on Poland, ordering it to suspend the functioning of the disciplinary
chamber of the Supreme Court,” the statement added.

A Polish
government spokesman said the EU had no grounds to criticize the disciplinary
chamber.

Why is
the reform so controversial?

The
introduction of the disciplinary chamber was one of several controversial
judicial reforms that have been criticized by the EU and may jeopardize
Poland’s place in the European Union.

In addition
to the changes made to the functioning of the Supreme Court, the Polish
government also sought to be able to more directly punish judges who
spoke out against the government and exercise more direct control over the
judiciary.

These changes have been widely criticized by the EU and other outsider critics. It is unclear whether Poland would comply with any future decision made by the European Court of Justice.

source: dw.com

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