EU orders Poland to pay 70 million euros in spat over judges

AP , Thursday 20 Jan 2022

The European Union is ordering Poland to pay a fine of nearly 70 million euros ($80 million) for its failure to shut down a disciplinary chamber with the power to suspend or otherwise punish judges for their rulings, an official said Thursday.

The European Court of Justice ruled last year that ``the disciplinary regime for judges in Poland is not compatible with EU law,'' since it opens up the independent judicial branch to political interference.

Despite the ruling, Poland's government hasn't suspended the Disciplinary Chamber, which operates from the Supreme Court.

The European Commission, the EU's executive branch, had analyzed a reply sent by Poland in response to the court's concerns on Dec. 22, commission spokesman Christian Wigand said. It found that ``Poland failed to provide evidence'' that it complied with the court's order of last July.

``The European Commission has therefore sent the first call for payments yesterday (Wednesday),'' Wigand said.

The development comes a day after the commission said it had also started the process to deduct millions of euros from payments to Poland in order to cover fines imposed on Warsaw for ignoring a court injunction to close down a coal mine, an official said Wednesday.

The European Court of Justice ruled last year that Poland should close the open pit brown coal mine in Turow, near the border with the Czech Republic. In its injunction, it ruled in favor of the Czech government, which complained that the mine drains groundwater from villages on the Czech side of their border, while also causing dust and noise pollution.

The court ordered Poland to pay a daily fine of 500,000 euros ($567,000) as long as it continues to operate the mine.

Search Keywords:
Short link: