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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The European Commission is referring a case against Poland to the CJEU

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The case against Poland in connection with “undermining the independence of the national regulatory authority for telecommunications” – the Office of Electronic Communications – was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by the European Commission. It is about dismissing the president of the office before the end of the term of office.

The EC stated that, as a matter of urgency, in May 2020, Poland changed some of the provisions of its Telecommunications Law regarding the appointment and dismissal of the president of the Polish national regulatory authority – the Office of Electronic Communications.

The EC submits a request to the CJEU against Poland. The Commission’s allegations

“On the basis of the same amending provisions, the Polish government prematurely dismissed – with effect from May 2020 – the president of the Polish regulatory authority, whose term of office should last until September 2021. Under EU law, the conditions that may lead to an early dismissal of the president of the national regulatory authority , must be defined before the commencement of the term of office. It is an important safeguard that guarantees the independence of the national regulatory authority from political pressure “- informed the European Commission.

The Commission said that “the independence of the national regulatory authority is a key principle of the EU telecoms framework”.

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“The purpose of this principle is to ensure that the authority can make objective decisions and act impartially both vis-à-vis regulated companies and in the face of political pressure. This principle was guaranteed under the framework directive in force at the time, and its importance was recently highlighted in the Electronic Communications Code.” in the EC communication.

The EC’s decision to refer the case against Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU was made “as a result of an exchange of views between the Commission and the Polish authorities”.

Exchange of opinions

In July 2020, the EC sent a letter of formal notice to Poland, and in February 2021, after receiving a reply from the Polish authorities, it sent a reasoned opinion to which the authorities in Warsaw also replied. The aforementioned exchange of opinions – in the opinion of the European Commission – did not resolve the issue in question.

The European Commission found the explanations presented by Poland unsatisfactory and inconsistent with the requirements of the European Electronic Communications Code, which were to be implemented as a result of the legislative changes of May 2020.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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