country won’t accept “unlawful penalties” over changes to its judicial
system, rejecting a punishment handed down by the EU’s top court.
press conference on Thursday, after the European Court of Justice (ECJ)
earlier ruled that Poland must pay €1 million ($1.17 million) a day
until it reverses certain judicial reforms, ensuring its judiciary is in
line with “the legal order” of the EU.
“In the case of a penalty for changes in the judicial system, Poland cannot and should not pay any zloty,” Ziobro stated, adding that “the Polish state cannot succumb to lawlessness.”
Hungary has defended Poland in the row. “The EU institutions’ aggressive stance is disproportionate and unjustified”, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga said in a post on her Facebook page.
had sparked anger from the EU over concerns that a disciplinary chamber
of the country’s Supreme Court made EU laws subordinate to national
law, leading European officials to warn it’s a “direct challenge to the unity” of the bloc.
The Polish government has rejected claims that the reforms,
involving the disciplining of judges, are designed to cause a rift with
the EU or threaten the independence of the judiciary, arguing it is
simply time to end judicial violations.
President Ursula von der Leyen previously warned the country’s
government that it could face a number of possible outcomes if Poland
doesn’t undo the measures, ranging from fines to the withholding of EU
funds or suspension of certain bloc membership rights. Reiterating this
at a press conference on Thursday, von der Leyen warned Poland the EU’s
next step would be to withhold funds until the member state agrees a “clear commitment to dismantle the disciplinary chamber.”