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    European Commission VP: Amended Supreme Court Law in Poland Meets Requirements, Paves the Way for EU Funds

    In a significant development, Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission (EC), has expressed support for an amended Supreme Court law currently under consideration by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. Jourova stated that the proposed amendment aligns with the EC’s requirements regarding the judiciary and would unlock post-pandemic recovery funds for Warsaw.

    Poland is set to receive a substantial amount of financial assistance from the EU’s pandemic relief fund, with EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans under its National Recovery Plan (KPO). However, the disbursement of these funds is contingent upon Poland meeting certain rule-of-law “milestones” outlined by Brussels. One such milestone is full compliance with an EU court ruling, which mandates that Poland revise its rules for disciplining judges.

    To address this requirement, the Polish Sejm, the lower house of parliament, passed an amendment to the law on the Supreme Court in January. The amendment proposes that all disciplinary matters concerning judges be resolved by the top administrative court instead of the Supreme Court’s Chamber of Professional Responsibility, a body that was established to replace a disciplinary chamber deemed by the EC to be politically biased.

    However, President Andrzej Duda referred the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal for assessment, describing it as a “preventative measure.” The Constitutional Tribunal will determine whether the amendment aligns with the country’s constitution.

    In an interview with private broadcaster TVN24, Jourova stated that the proposed amendment had undergone thorough consultation with the EC. She confirmed that Polish authorities had received assurances that its adoption “could resolve certain issues.” When asked if it would fulfill the judiciary milestone, she responded affirmatively, noting that the EC now awaits the Constitutional Court’s decision.

    Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, speaking to the broadcaster, acknowledged that the amendment had been carefully drafted and extensively discussed with the Commission for several months before being submitted to the Polish Sejm.

    Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland’s EU minister, commented on these statements, emphasizing that the public declarations of the two commissioners validate the meticulous arrangements made regarding the amendment. He further stated that if the amendment referred to the Constitutional Tribunal by the president is enacted, it would clear the path to accessing funds from the KPO.

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