European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde has emphasized the protection afforded to the Governor of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), Adam Glapinski, by European Union (EU) laws. Lagarde’s statement comes in response to the opposition coalition in Poland, led by Donald Tusk, contemplating the initiation of proceedings against Glapinski for allegedly impeding interest-rate hikes.
Tusk, the leader of Poland’s largest opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition (KO), and a prime ministerial candidate, had previously announced the coalition’s consideration of bringing Glapinski before the State Tribunal over the delay in interest-rate adjustments.
In a letter addressed to Glapinski, Lagarde underscored that any motion submitted to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, seeking Glapinski’s prosecution would trigger an automatic suspension. This suspension would affect both his role as the central bank governor and his position within the ECB’s General Council, potentially rendering such a motion illegal.
Lagarde explained that the protection for governors of national central banks is enshrined in the Statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and the ECB. This protection aims to guarantee the independence of central bank governors, allowing them to challenge any resolution adopted by the Sejm through referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an assessment of its lawfulness.
The process of initiating proceedings before the State Tribunal involves submitting a motion to the Sejm by either the president or a minimum of 115 Members of Parliament. The Constitutional Accountability Committee may then decide to pursue the motion or discontinue the proceedings. To bring a central bank head to justice before the State Tribunal, a resolution must be adopted by an absolute majority of votes (231) in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of MPs.