EU sues Poland for undermining independence of courts

By Jan Strupczewski BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union sued Poland on Monday in the EU's highest court over the ruling party's changes to the judiciary, which the bloc believes violate the independence of the courts. 'The European Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges,' the EU's executive Commission said

Reuters September 25, 2018 00:05:57 IST
EU sues Poland for undermining independence of courts

EU sues Poland for undermining independence of courts

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union sued Poland on Monday in the EU's highest court over the ruling party's changes to the judiciary, which the bloc believes violate the independence of the courts.

"The European Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges," the EU's executive Commission said.

The new Polish law lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65 years, putting 27 out of 72 sitting judges at risk of being forced to retire. The mandate of the head of the Supreme Court would be prematurely terminated.

The Commission asked the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to suspend the application of the law until it reaches a verdict to prevent the forced retirement of the judges and the appointment of new ones.

The Commission requested the injunction because the new Supreme Court judges are appointed by the National Council for the Judiciary, which, after the changes introduced by the ruling, eurosceptic PiS party, is composed of PiS-appointed nominees.

The loss of independence by the National Council for the Judiciary was the reason why Poland was suspended last week from the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ).

Poland's situation echoes that of Hungary, which the European Parliament sanctioned earlier this month for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption.

"Poland is ready to defend its legal and constitutional position before the ECJ," government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska told the Polish press agency PAP.

The Polish government said it would comment on the lawsuit once it gets the relevant documents from the Commission, but noted that only a binding ruling of the European Court of Justice could make it change legislation.

Diplomats in Brussels said Europe ministers of other EU countries would hold a hearing on Oct. 16 at which Warsaw would be asked to explain its actions on the judiciary.

EU ministers held similar hearings in June and September, each time concluding that they were not satisfied with Poland's explanations.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Agnieszka Barteczko and Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.