U: Expert discusses Poland’s court fines
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The European Union’s top court had demanded Poland pay a daily 1 million euro fine for failing to abolish a controversial disciplinary chamber for the country’s top judges. Brussels has ruled that the chamber undermines the independence of Poland’s courts in violation of EU values and rules. “In the ruling issued today, the Vice-President of the Tribunal obliged Poland to pay…a penalty payment of EUR 1 million per day, counting from the date on which this ruling was delivered to Poland,” announced the European Court of Justice on Wednesday.
Brussels correspondent Alexandra Von Nahmen told DW News: “I think that the ruling has a great potential of escalating, further escalating the already ongoing rule of law battle between Poland and the European Commission, the European Union.
“And this chamber is just one issue there, there is a recent ruling by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal that Polish Constitution takes primacy over EU law.
“And critics say that Poland is challenging the fundamental values of the European Union.
“Last week EU leaders met here in Brussels to try to de-escalate.
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“They said we need to keep up the dialogue, we need to talk about that.
“But at the moment, I really cannot imagine how this dispute can be de-escalated.”
Earlier this month Poland’s constitutional court challenged the power of the European Union in a landmark ruling which poses a major crisis for the European superblock according to experts.
Poland‘s highest court ruled on Thursday, October 7 that some parts of EU treaties are incompatible with the Polish constitution, challenging a pillar of European integration and sharply escalating a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw.
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Mr Morawiecki’s Law and Justice (PiS) party government is embroiled in a battle of values with Brussels, focused on disputes over the independence of courts, media freedoms, LGBT rights, and other issues.
The prime minister had requested the Constitutional Tribunal to rule on whether EU law has primacy over the Polish constitution.
DW News correspondent Jack Parrock explained at the time of the ruling: “This is going to make things extremely difficult for both sides now.
“We know that 12 out of the 14 judges on the panel of Poland’s Constitutional Court believed that some provisions with EU treaties are in conflict with Poland’s constitution.
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“One of the cornerstones of EU membership of being an EU member country is that EU law has primacy over all other laws and that European Court of Justice is the top court within the European Union.
“What these judges are saying is in some aspects they don’t believe that is the case.”
He added: “This is a pretty major issue now for the European Union, we have already seen some pretty strong reaction coming out of European parliamentarians.
“And I am sure we are going to see some harsh criticism of this ruling coming from the European Commission,” Mr Parrock also predicted.
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