The European Commission issued a reasoned opinion regarding the disciplinary measures implemented by Poland to control judges, and thereby took the ongoing infringement procedure against this central-European country to the next level. In later stages, the EU executive may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
On 3 April 2019, the Commission launched this infringement procedure on the grounds that the new disciplinary regime undermines the judicial independence of Polish judges and does not ensure the necessary guarantees to protect judges from political control, as required by the Court of Justice of the EU.
Poland had 2 months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission in its letter of formal notice. Following a thorough analysis of the response from the Polish authorities, the Commission concluded that the response does not alleviate the legal concerns. The Commission has, therefore, decided to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure.
The Polish authorities now have 2 months to take the necessary measures to comply with this reasoned opinion.bIf Poland does not take appropriate measures, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
The European Commission, together with other Union institutions and the Member States, is responsible under the Treaties for guaranteeing the rule of law as a fundamental value of our Union and making sure that EU law, values and principles are respected.
Events in Poland led the European Commission to open a dialogue with the Polish Government in January 2016 under the Rule of Law Framework and then activate the Article 7(1) TEU procedure on 20 December 2017. The process is based on a continuous dialogue between the Commission and the Member State concerned. The Commission keeps the European Parliament and Council regularly informed.