back to top

    EC received Poland’s request concerning suspension of court fines

    A European Commission (EC) spokesperson confirmed on Friday that the Commission had received a letter from Poland requesting a suspension of fines imposed on Warsaw by the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

    The CJEU imposed a fine of EUR 1 million a day on Poland for its failure to comply with its ruling to suspend the operations of the Disciplinary Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court, which the EC considers detrimental to the rule of law and judicial independence.


    Poland has submitted a motion for the suspension of fines imposed by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) over a contested Disciplinary Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, the Minister for European affairs, announced on Friday.


    Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek also said he hoped the motion would be considered without undue delay.


    Asked by private broadcaster Polsat News from when the fine is to be suspended, Szynkowski vel Sek replied that Warsaw hoped it would take effect from the date the legal amendment came into force. He also said he would travel to Brussels next week and that one of the key subjects of his talks there would be the EU’s payment of post-pandemic recovery funding for the National Recovery Plan (KPO).


    The EC approved Poland’s KPO in early June, opening the way for Warsaw to get EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans. But the Commission has long been at loggerheads with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party and froze Warsaw’s access to the funds until it meets several rule-of-law milestones, including the suspension of the Disciplinary Chamber.


    “We received the letter from the new Polish minister of European affairs asking to discontinue calls for payment,” EC spokesperson Christian Wigand told a media briefing on Friday. 


    “We received a similar letter already on June 15. Back then, we assessed that while we have seen progress in certain specific issues, not all obligations stemming from the order of July 14, 2021, have been fully addressed in the new law on the Supreme Court. We will of course carefully analyse the second letter to see if there were any new developments.”


    He added that the “Commission is under the obligation to continue its calls for penalty payments ordered by the Court of Justice until Poland fully complies with the order of the court.” 


    “Until this is done, Poland will continue to pay the fines imposed by the court,” Wigand said.


    In 2021, the CJEU ruled that Poland must immediately suspend the work of the Disciplinary Chamber, specifically in terms of stripping judges of their immunity. The EU has accused the chamber of undermining judicial independence and the rule of law in Poland. Warsaw’s failure to comply with the ruling prompted the CJEU to impose a fine of EUR 1 million a day, to be paid to the European Commission (EC).

    More in section