Undermining legality of Polish Constitutional Tribunal by EC unacceptable: Dept FM

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said on Saturday that the statement made by the European Commission’s spokesperson, Christian Wigand, undermining the legality of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal, was absolutely unacceptable for the Polish government.

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Mr Jabłoński made the statement after a meeting with the Head of the EC’s representation in Poland, Marek Prawda, who had been summoned by the Foreign Ministry on Friday.

Mr Wigand’s Statement

During a press conference in Brussels on Friday, Mr Wigand deemed Poland’s Supreme Court legal, while expressing reservations over the legality of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal.

On Thursday, three Supreme Court (SN) chambers passed a resolution stating that when a judge nominated by the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) is included in a court line-up, then this lineup is incorrect. The resolution does not apply to rulings that were issued by courts before the resolution was passed, but it does apply to any rulings issued by the Disciplinary Chamber, a section of the SN that the SN recently ruled as not being a court under EU law.

Mr Wigand said that the EC was aware of the decision by the Supreme Court concerning judges of the National Council of the Judiciary and would not comment on it, but the development of the situation concerning the rule of law in Poland is proof that immediate constructive dialogue on the matter is needed. He added that EC Vice-President, Vera Jourová, will visit Poland next week to discuss the matter.

EC vs Polish Government

The Head of the EC’s representation in Poland, Marek Prawda, explained that “Commissioner Jourová is keen to discuss the rule of law in Poland and any other matters related to the scope of her responsibilities”. He added that the EC would very much like to continue an open and honest dialogue with Polish authorities.

The Polish deputy foreign minister said that the statement made by Christian Wigand is regarded by Poland as an example of double standards applied by the EC to different EU members. However, he added that the Polish authorities were ready for dialogue.

Background

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party set up the Disciplinary Chamber under one of its reforms of the legal system in Poland. Following the government's KRS reform, members of this judicial self-government body are no longer elected by judges, but are nominated by Parliament, which the SN sees as a breach of judicial independence.

The Justice Ministry refused to recognise the legality of the SN resolution.

On Friday, PM Mateusz Morawiecki decided to ask the Constitutional Tribunal to verify the constitutionality of the legislation used to issue the SN's resolution.

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