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Rule of law is not for sale! Not a single euro to the Polish government before the conditions are met

Date

09 Jun 2022

Sections

Public Affairs

The Socialists and Democrats today supported a resolution to put pressure on the European Commission to not disburse Recovery Funds to Poland until the conditions regarding independence of judiciary are fully met. In particular, the text insists on full implementation of all relevant judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights.

The S&Ds insist on the need for meaningful, not just cosmetic, change to fully implement the judgements.  As the CJEU ordered, the Disciplinary Chamber must be abolished, and not just renamed. Moreover, every harassed judge that was unlawfully suspended by this chamber must have the opportunity to return to their post.

The resolution also urges the Commission to use all other instruments at its disposal, including the rule of law conditionality mechanism and infringement procedures, to defend the rule of law in Poland. In particular, the Commission must launch infringement concerning the highly politicised National Council of the Judiciary so it ceases to exist in its current form.

Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, S&D spokesperson in the EP’s committee on budget, said:

“It took 13 months for the European Commission to approve the Polish Recovery Plan! This in itself justifies our huge doubts regarding this plan. Now, this plan still has to meet very concrete requirements. They include three on judiciary independence, deriving directly from the last July CJEU ruling.  We are very clear: without the fulfilment of these requirements, not a single euro can be released to Poland.

“Poland needs the recovery funds, but the values of the European Union, including the rule of law, are the cornerstone of democracy. They are not for sale! The Commission as the guardian of the treaty must make sure that the European law and the decision of the European Court of Justice are respected. This Parliament, and particularly our group, will be extremely vigilant on this!”

Birgit Sippel, S&D coordinator in the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, added:

“The Polish government has been destroying democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in its own country for years! Unfortunately, there has been a lack of action from the von der Leyen Commission to stop the PiS. Approving the Polish recovery plan is yet another missed opportunity to put pressure on Warsaw. President von der Leyen has even ignored two of her own vice-presidents and three other critical commissioners! A dangerous precedent to set!

“Yes, Poland needs financial support for hosting refugees from Ukraine. That is why Poland has received specific funds from the refugee and border management instrument. Now it’s about a more important question: how seriously do we take democracy and the rule of law?”

Note to editors:

Last week, the European Commission announced an agreement with the Polish government for the Polish recovery plan, under which Poland could get 36 billion euros in post-pandemic recovery funds. Under the fund’s rules, money is paid out in instalments, provided that countries have completed a list of conditions, the so-called agreed "milestones and targets”. In the case of Poland these are: dismantling a controversial disciplinary chamber for judges; reforming the disciplinary regime; and reinstating dismissed judges.

 

 

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