Because of a controversial judicial reform, the Euro Europe Place Poland under special observation. The parliamentary assembly of the international community spoke in favor of a so-called monitoring procedure for Poland. It is intended to provide a fundamental assessment of whether the democratic institutions in Poland are functioning and whether the rule of law meets the Council of Europe's requirements.
The Council of Europe is a European international organization with 47 member states. It is not institutionally linked to the European Union (EU). It is the first time that the Council of Europe has opened such a monitoring procedure for an EU country.
The Board believes that the reforms of the Polish judicial system contradict European standards, undermine and damage the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. The reforms also made the judiciary vulnerable to political interference. As part of the monitoring, rapporteurs should now regularly follow the meeting Poland to travel. There will also be a constant dialogue with the authorities.
Judges are no longer allowed to be politically active
The Polish PiS party has repeatedly restructured the judiciary since its first takeover in 2015, thereby restricting the freedom of judges. For example, members of the National Council of Justice, i.e. the
Commission, which sets up judges, is staffed by parliament.
In January the parliament in which the PiS has an absolute majority and passed another law on discipline of judges. Among other things, it will prohibit them from becoming politically active in the future. Judges are also no longer allowed to question the competence of colleagues. If they do so, they face fines, demotion or dismissal.
The EU also criticizes the reforms
The European Union is also critical of the reforms. After the reform of the National Judicial Council, the EU Commission initiated several infringement proceedings against Poland and brought suits before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová accused the Polish government of a "defamation campaign" against its own judges.
The ECJ stopped some parts of the reforms, such as the retirement of numerous judges, in 2018, and should now decide on an injunction against the Disciplinary Chamber established in Poland at the Supreme Court. It is considered possible that the Court of Justice will also grant the demands of the EU Commission here. However, there are unpredictable consequences if the Polish government ignores the judgment. In extreme cases, this could theoretically lead to Poland's forced exit from the EU.