Poland’s president signs reform of disciplinary system for judges

Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed the reform of the controversial Judicial Disciplinary Chamber.
Image: dpa

Warsaw has bowed to pressure from Brussels and will receive 35 billion in previously withheld corona aid in return. The EU had sharply criticized the fact that the judiciary in Poland was restricted in its freedom by the disciplinary chamber.

Polen has implemented into law a reform of the controversial disciplinary system for judges promised to the EU. President Andrzej Duda signed the relevant law on Monday, which will abolish a disciplinary body for judges in the Supreme Court system. The chamber had caused disputes between Poland and the EU for years.

Because of the dispute, Brussels had withheld the billions in aid provided for Warsaw in the EU Corona reconstruction fund. Warsaw then announced in May that it had reached an agreement with the EU.

In particular, the EU Commission had called for the dissolution of the Disciplinary Chamber. However, critics from the Polish opposition and judges’ associations complain that the new law does not allay concerns about political influence on the judiciary in Poland. There were also doubts within the EU Commission as to whether Warsaw was serious about its reforms.

On June 1, the EU basically gave the green light for the payment of billions in aid for Poland from the Corona reconstruction fund. However, during a visit to Warsaw, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that the money would only be paid out “when reforms and investments have been implemented”. For years, the Commission has been complaining that the national conservative government in Warsaw has undermined the rule of law.

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