Last minute infringement procedure on Polish Supreme Court
Tuesday, 03 July 2018
The European Commission decided yesterday to launch an infringement procedure against Poland regarding its law on the Supreme Court. The procedure was activated as a matter of urgency since several of judges faces the risk of being forced to retire today. A new law lowering the retirement age of the Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65 enters into force on 3 July and affects 27 of its 72 judges, including the First President of the court.
The Commission is of the opinion that these measures undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and is not satisfied with the safeguards Poland has put into place.
At a press briefing in yesterday, the Commission spokesperson explained that the concerns were not new and had been raised during the dialogue with Poland on the rule of law in the country.
According to the Commission, at the General Affairs Council hearing on Poland on 26 June no indication was given by the Polish authorities of forthcoming measures to address the Commission’s outstanding concerns.
“Given the lack of progress through the rule of law dialogue, and the imminent implementation of the new retirement regime for Supreme Court judges, the Commission decided to launch this infringement procedure as a matter of urgency.”
The Polish government will have one month instead of the usually two months to reply to the Commission’s letter which is the first step in an infringement procedure against a member state that is suspected of not respecting its obligations under EU law.