Poland’s justice minister on Monday condemned a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which said his country’s 2019 judicial reforms infringed on EU law, accusing it of being a “flagrant violation” of the European Treaty.
“The CJEU’s verdict issued on Monday was not written by judges but by politicians,” Zbigniew Ziobro told reporters.
“There is no country in the world where judges can undermine the status of another judge, and the CJEU wants Poland to find itself in a situation in which this is possible,” Ziobro added.
Polish EU Affairs Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek also criticized the ruling, saying “the content of this ruling refers, to a large extent, to a non-existent legal status.”
– Row over Poland’s 2019 judicial reforms
Earlier in the day, the CJEU ruled that changes to the Polish justice system introduced by the government in 2019 “infringe on EU law.”
“By today’s judgment, the Court upholds the Commission’s action,” the CJEU said in a statement, referring to the European Commission’s move in February to refer Poland to the top EU court over claims that the “Polish Supreme Court lacked the necessary independence and impartiality.”
“The measures thus adopted by the Polish legislature are incompatible with the guarantees of access to an independent and impartial tribunal,” it added.
Following Poland’s adoption of a law amending national rules relating to the organization of ordinary courts, administrative courts and the Supreme Court on Dec. 20, 2019, the European Commission in February decided to refer Warsaw to the CJEU for violations of EU law by the “Constitutional Tribunal and its case law.”
Due to the failure to implement an order by the CJEU relating to its judiciary, Warsaw has had to pay about €550 million (nearly $590 million) in fines since October 2021, when the €1 million daily fine system began.
In April, the European Commission rejected Poland’s request to stop levying fines of €1 million per day, but later the same month, the daily fines were cut in half.