BRUSSELS. Poland is not backing down on justice reform, and the sting comes. Starting today, October 27, the government will have to pay a fine of one million euros a day until the day it aligns with EU provisions. In particular, the European Court of Justice denies the failure to comply with the order of 14 July last, in which Warsaw was ordered to suspend with immediate effect the control over the judges of the Supreme Court.
From the outset, the European Commission contested the initiative to establish a disciplinary section of the Supreme Court appointed by the government. The government that stands as controller of the judiciary undermines the principle of independence and impartiality of judges and goes against the principle of the separation of powers at the basis of the democratic order.
At the beginning of September, the EU executive again referred to the Court of Justice of the EU, given the continuous and prolonged non-compliance with the order. The Luxembourg body agrees with the Commission, considering that “it appears necessary to strengthen the effectiveness of the precautionary measures in order to dissuade that Member State from delaying the adaptation of its behavior to this order”. Compliance with the measures ordered in the summer is then “necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable damage to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which the Union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law”.
Time and patience are over. Now Poland will start paying one million euros a day. A high cost in economic terms, which risks having political repercussions. Brussels and Warsaw are at loggerheads after the Polish Constitutional Court called into question the primacy of Community law by establishing that it prevails over national law only in limited and specific areas.
Rule of law, judiciary, primacy of European law. The clash between the European Union and Poland is getting wider and wider.