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    Polish president claims Brussels didn’t keep promises

    Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has accused the European Commission (EC) of going back on its promise to pay out billions of euros in post-pandemic recovery money for Poland as soon as a supreme court reform is passed.

    “It turns out that for the European Commission, for its representatives and some politicians in European institutions, the words that were said at that time are insignificant,” Duda complained.

     

    The EU has prepared a EUR 750 billion facility to help European economies emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Poland is expected to get about EUR 35 billion from the scheme under its National Recovery Plan (KPO).

     

    However, the EC has demanded that Poland shut down a disciplinary panel for judges at the Supreme Court, which it said could be used to intimidate judges who are critical of the government. The EU body has also demanded that judges suspended by the panel so far be reinstated.

     

    The Polish president has prepared a bill reforming the disciplinary body, but his draft was modified by parliament. Some of the suspended judges have also not returned to their posts yet. As a result, the EC said the changes had not addressed all the problems.

     

    But Duda said his arrangements with the EU officials had been broken.

     

    “I took part in the talks myself when the bill was being prepared by me and my aides,” he said. “The bill made changes to the Supreme Court by introducing a new Chamber of Professional Responsibility, in line with the CJEU’s (Court of Justice of the European Union) expectations.”

     

    “As we can see, despite all those arrangements, despite my talks, the arrangements have been broken,” Duda added.

     

    Poland’s KPO has been approved by the EC and by the Council of the EU, consisting of European economy and finance ministers. However, the tentative approval sets several conditions, or milestones, which according to the EC have not all been met and consequently, no money has been transferred to Warsaw yet.

     

    Meanwhile, four European judicial associations – the Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ), the European Association of Judges (EAJ), Rechters voor Rechters and Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) – challenged the decision to approve Poland’s KPO in the General Court of the EU, Reuters reported on Sunday.

     

    “This application seeks the annulment of the Council’s decision… because the rule of law ‘milestones’… fall short of what is required to ensure the effective judicial protection and disregard the judgements of the Court of Justice of the EU on the matter,” the associations said, as quoted by Reuters.

     

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