The European Commission (EU) has launched a procedure of violating EU legislation against Poland in relation to the Polish law on the Supreme Court, according to a press release of the EU, published on Monday.
Poland has received one month to reply to the commission’s Letter of Formal Notice.
“On 3 July, 27 out of 72 Supreme Court judges face the risk of being forced to retire – more than one in every three judges – due to the fact that the new Polish law on the Supreme Court lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. This measure also applies to the First President of the Supreme Court, whose 6-year mandate would be prematurely terminated. According to the law, current judges are given the possibility to declare their will to have their mandate prolonged by the President of the Republic, which can be granted for a period of three years and renewed once. There are no criteria established for the President’s decision and there is no possibility for a judicial review of this decision,” the EC wrote in a statement.
“The Commission is of the opinion that these measures undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,” the EC added.
The European Commission may launch a formal infringement procedure if it believes a given country has breached EU law, EU regulations are not being implemented or a complaint will be filed regarding their violation.
The procedure follows a number of steps laid out in the EU treaties. First, the Commission sends a Letter of Formal Notice requesting further information to the country concerned, which must send a detailed reply within a specified period. If the Commission concludes that the country is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law, it may send a reasoned opinion: a formal request to comply with EU law. If the EU country still doesn’t comply, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday that if the European Commission launches the EU law infringement procedure against Poland regarding the Polish law on the Supreme Court, Poland will present its arguments in this procedure in a very meticulous and detailed way.