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Poland broke EU law – the judgment of the CJEU. How many fines will he pay?

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In its judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union found that the changes in the Polish justice system of December 2019 violated EU law. As of the date of the judgment, financial penalties, the total amount of which amounted to EUR 556 million, cease to be charged in Poland, TVN24 correspondent Maciej Sokołowski reported.

Poland has failed to fulfill its obligations from the Treaty on the European Union, he announced on Monday Court of Justice of the European Unionrecognizing that the changes in the Polish judiciary made in 2019 broke EU law.

In the communiqué, the CJEU informed that the effects of the provisions on penalties “end with today’s judgment, which ends the proceedings in the case”. “Nevertheless, Poland’s obligation to pay the fine due for the earlier period remains in force” – emphasized.

TVN24 correspondent Maciej Sokołowski pointed out that the final sum amounted to EUR 556 million (almost PLN 2.5 billion at the exchange rate of the National Bank of Poland on June 5). He also emphasized that these funds are deducted from the EU funds for Poland.

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The Polish government must implement the judgment of the CJEU. If he doesn’t, European Commission in the future, it will be able to file a complaint again, which may result in the imposition of financial penalties for failure to implement the ruling – Sokołowski added.

Financial penalties for failure to implement the provisions of the CJEU

In the course of the proceedings, at the request of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the EU, by order of July 14, 2021, ordered Poland to suspend the application of the challenged provisions, in particular the provisions concerning the competence of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, until the judgment in the case is issued.

In October 2021, the CJEU ordered Poland to pay the European Commission a fine of EUR 1 million per day for not suspending the application of the provisions on the Disciplinary Chamber.

On July 15, 2022, it entered into force initiated by the president Andrzej Duda amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court, according to which the Disciplinary Chamber, questioned as an independent body, ceased to exist and was replaced by the Chamber of Professional Responsibility.

In November 2022, the Polish government filed a motion to suspend the calculation of penalties, justifying it, among other things, with the liquidation of the Disciplinary Chamber. The European Commission refused, claiming that Poland had not fully implemented the decision of July 14, 2021.

CJEUShutterstock

On January 13, the Sejm passed another amendment to the law on the Supreme Court. According to it, among other things, disciplinary and immunity cases of judges would be resolved The Supreme Administrative Court, and not – as at present – the Chamber of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Administrative Court is also to take over, among other things, the competence to resolve the so-called immunity cases of judges of all courts. The amendment also provides for fundamental changes regarding the so-called test of independence and impartiality of a judge.

On March 10, 2023, Poland applied to the Court of Justice of the European Union with a request to repeal or amend the decision imposing the aforementioned fine on it. In support of that request, she argued that, as a consequence of the changes to the law, she had fully complied with her obligations under the interim measures. Maciej Sokołowski then pointed out that the vice-president of the CJEU stated that “partly this decision has been implemented, but partly not, so he cannot agree to Poland’s request in its entirety”.

In April, the CJEU decided to reduce the amount of the periodic penalty payment to EUR 500,000 per day.

Main photo source: mat. sponsored



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