The European Commission Vice-President said on Thursday that Poland’s new law dismantling the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court does not yet fulfil the conditions for the Commission to disburse the Recovery Fund.
Speaking in the European Parliament, Ms Jourova said the bill proposed by Polish President Andrzej Duda does not fulfil the milestones needed by the Commission to send the funds.
She added: “Poland will have to reflect on the conditions, and if they do not have a sufficient response in the legally binding rules for the Polish judiciary, which will correspond with the milestones, we will not pay the money.”
Shaming the Commission for making a “deal” with Warsaw, MEP Daniel Freund said: “Von der Leyen made a bad deal with the Polish government.
“And her Commissioners know it.
“This will damage her reputation and her authority within the EU-Commission.”
Responding to Ms Jourova’s comments, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recognised his government has certain conditions to fulfil but added “some would be fulfilled in full measure, others partially”.
He continued: “Nonetheless, I hope for the best. I believe that the first payment from the RRF will be launched between 2022 and 2023, (and we will be able) to spend them for concrete projects.”
The row came after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) condemned Warsaw in October for failing to comply with a ruling declaring the new disciplinary chamber for judges “incompatible” with EU law.
The case had been brought by the European Commission.
The Court ruled in favour of the Commission, stating that the reorganisation of the judiciary could be “used to exercise political control over judicial decisions or to put pressure on judges with a view to influencing their decisions.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister of the ruling PiS (Law and Justice) party, said in August that his government was ready to dissolve the controversial institution, without actually doing so.
He accused the EU of “creeping in” on Polish affairs and lamented in an interview with the Financial Times that the EU was putting “a gun to his head”.
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The Commission says the disciplinary system allows for political meddling in the courts and hence violates the laws in the 27-nation EU, as well as in Poland, that establish judicial independence.
Poland’s dispute with the EU is already costing the country money.
More funds from the EU’s 1.1 trillion euro shared budget until 2027 are at stake as the bloc gets tougher in denying money to countries that might channel the cash to support policies that undermine liberal democratic principles.
Warsaw says the judicial overhaul was needed to make courts more efficient and rid them of communist influence.
The nationalist PiS party also says it will not bow to what it calls EU blackmail.