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Polish move to reinstate retired justices welcomed by Brussels: PM

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 26.11.2018 07:30
The European Commission has welcomed new Polish legislation aiming to reinstate retired Supreme Court justices, the Polish prime minister has said.
Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: PAP/Andrzej LangeMateusz Morawiecki. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

Mateusz Morawiecki was speaking after a talk with the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels on Sunday.

"It was a very positive conversation that confirmed … that the changes we have made … are perceived very well, very positively, at the European Commission,” Morawiecki told reporters.

Polish senators on Friday evening approved legislation aiming to reinstate retired Supreme Court judges and reverse a move that triggered a row between Warsaw and Brussels.

The planned change in rules has now gone to President Andrzej Duda for signature.

The legislation, sponsored by Poland’s ruling conservatives, was on Wednesday backed by 215 members of the lower house of parliament, while 161 MPs were against and 24 abstained.

Morawiecki told a news conference in Brussels on Sunday that this latest move by Poland was seen in Brussels “as a constructive step on our part.”

Morawiecki added: "We will see what further course events will take."

The new Polish legislation aims to repeal provisions under which judges above the age of 65 were forced into retirement earlier this year.

Conservative lawmaker Marek Ast told reporters last week that "if the legislation comes into force, these judges will be able to return to the Supreme Court.”

The Court of Justice of the European Union in October issued an interim injunction ruling that the contested reforms to Poland’s Supreme Court should be suspended.

In July, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, launched a procedure against Warsaw over the reform, arguing that it undermined “the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges.”

The move followed the European Commission last December taking the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms and possibly paving the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.

Poland's governing Law and Justice party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes were needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past.

Morawiecki spoke to Juncker on the sidelines of a special EU summit during which European Union leaders in Brussels on Sunday unanimously backed a 585-page agreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May, sealing the UK’s divorce from the bloc.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis on Friday welcomed the Polish lawmakers' vote in favour of reinstating retired Supreme Court justices.


Source: PAP

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