Poland ‘won't ignore’ ECJ Supreme Court ruling: FM

Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz (R) commented on the potential ruling by ECJ on Polish judicial system reform. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Poland will abide by the ruling by the European Court of Justice, even if it was to be unfavourable, Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz told Polish public radio on Monday.

Poland could ‘be forced to ignore’ ECJ Supreme Court ruling: deputy PM

Poland’s deputy PM and science minister Jarosław Gowin said in an interview for one of Poland’s weekly magazines that if the ECJ rules in favor of...

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Under the new judicial regulations, Supreme Court judges are obliged to retire when they reach 65 years of age, unless they apply for an extension of their tenure and are subsequently accepted by the President. At the beginning of August the Supreme Court of Poland addressed five questions the to ECJ and attempted to suspend the application of three articles of the Supreme Court Law on the retirement age of its judges in a move that was called “unconstitutional” and condemned as having “no legal basis” by top officials.

Later in August, deputy PM Jarosław Gowin said that if the ECJ allowed for the sanctioning of the suspension of the law by the supreme court judges, the government “may be forced to ignore” the potential ECJ ruling as “contradictory to the Treaty of Lisbon and the spirit of European integration in general.”

Mr Czaputowicz referred to these comments directly, saying that Mr Gowin’s statement did not represent the official opinion of the Polish government, but his own personal thoughts.

“Just as PM Morawiecki said, we believe that our reforms are in line with the values of the EU and do not threaten the stability or independence of the Polish judicial system, but strengthen it,” he said, adding that Poland would most likely carry out the ruling even if it was was unfavourable.

“There should be no fears that we will demonstratively ignore the ECJ's verdict,” Mr Czaputowicz said, adding that Poland “recognised the major role of EU courts”.

“We acknowledge the role of the EU judiciary system and Poland is among the countries that put ECJ rulings into practise most often,” Mr Czaputowicz said, giving the example of the ECJ ruling on cutting down trees in the Białowieża Forest, which Poland followed despite not entirely sharing the ECJ’s position on the issue.