EU Commissioner Jourova: Poland does not fulfil milestones for Corona recovery funds
Yesterday (June 30th), the tentative deadline for the Polish government to meet the first milestones for the release of the Corona recovery funds expired. At a sitting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Commissioner Jourova confirmed in response to my question: the new act on the disciplinary Chamber adopted by Poland does not meet the conditions for the disbursement of the first tranche of recovery funds. Shortly thereafter, the European Commission contradicted its Vice-President’s statement by stating that it had not yet assessed the Polish government’s fulfilment of the milestones.
In order to receive the first payments, the Polish government would have had to fulfil several conditions by the end of the second quarter of 2022. These conditions include the need for disciplinary proceedings of judges to be conducted by an independent court as well as the abolition of the politically appointed disciplinary chamber. Furthermore, judges must no longer be subject to disciplinary action for example for the content of their judgements. It also should not be possible anymore to impose disciplinary measures on judges for verifying whether another court is independent, impartial and legal.
While on June 9th the Polish Parliament passed a law on the disciplinary chamber, the bill basically only renamed the body. In addition, the members of the new “Professional Liability Chamber” will no longer be appointed by the National Judicial Council but instead by the President himself and can thus by no means be considered politically independent. Moreover, the new chamber has more or less the same competencies as its much criticised predecessor.
Daniel Freund, Green Member of the Budgetary Control Committee and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, comments:
“Looking at the support provided to refugees and in the face of Russian aggression Poland deserves our full solidarity. But when it comes to the rule of law, the Polish government has not done its homework. The Commission’s milestones have not been met. This was to be expected. Under these circumstances, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen must not release the recovery funds. EU funds must only be paid to Poland once the independence of the judiciary has been reestablished. Von der Leyen would do well to agree with her Vice President’s assessment and finally acknowledge that the sham reforms in Poland are just a hoax. The Polish government’s sole goal is to access EU funds, rather than fixing the rule of law.”
Commissioner Jourova’s answer to Daniel Freund in video:
Von der Leyen must stand firm on Poland – or she could face a vote of no confidence in the European Parliament. Op-Ed by Terry Reintke and Daniel Freund today on welt.de: