Warding Off ‘Systematic Threats’: EU Steps Up Legal Battle Against Poland

Written by | Friday, August 17th, 2018

The European Union has intensified its pressure on Poland over its controversial court reforms, giving the country one month to comply or face the EU’s top court. The move is yet another blow to Warsaw’s long-running confrontation with the European Commission. The EU has launched a semi-infringement procedure against the Polish right-wing government over the rule of law.


The European Commission is conducting a “thorough analysis” of Poland’s response and it had now decided to initiate the second step of legal action against Poland. “The response of the Polish authorities does not alleviate the Commission’s legal concerns,” the EU executive said in a statement. If Warsaw fails to comply, it could face huge fines. The retirement law that entered into force in July lowers the pension age of judges from 70 to 65, affecting 27 of the Supreme Court’s sitting 73 judges including chief justice Malgorzata Gersdorf, who refused to step down. Mrs. Gersdorf warned that the measures are a “purge” that breach her constitutionally guaranteed six-term ending in 2020.


In December last year, Brussels triggered Article 7 in an unprecedented move, saying that the currents developments in the country pose “systemic threats” to the rule of law, and could lead to Warsaw’s EU voting rights suspended. If the court finds Poland guilty of breaching EU law, it could force the Polish government to amend the law on the country’s supreme court. back to the court. However, Poland’s deputy justice minister Lukasz Piebiak was defiant when he responded that “we expected that our arguments would not convince the Commission – not because they are weak but because the Commission is acting in a political way and not as an institution charged with protecting respect for European law and treaties,”

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