Polish justice minister accuses EU of ‘legal hybrid warfare’

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2020 file photo, Poland's Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, left, welcomes vice president of the European Commission Vera Jourova, for talks on the conflict over the government's much-criticized taking of steps to control the judiciary in Warsaw, Poland. An official with Poland's conservative governing party, which has been governing with the support of two small parties, one led by the justice minister Ziobro, said Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, that the the country's right-wing coalition government has collapsed. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

Poland’s justice minister is harshly criticizing the European Commission’s attempt to fine Poland over allegedly defying a European Court of Justice (ECJ) injunction, with the justice minister calling it “legal hybrid warfare”.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and other politicians from “Solidarity Poland” (a junior partner of the ruling Law and Justice party) say the position of the European Commission represents a direct attempt to meddle in Poland’s democratic affairs.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it will seek for the European Court of Justice to fine Poland for failing to honor an injunction ordering the suspension of the Disciplinary Chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court. European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova, a harsh critic of Poland and Hungary, claims that Poland’s Disciplinary Chamber is still operating and is not obeying the European Court of Justice ruling.

Ziobro told journalists at a press conference that he was outraged by the European Commission’s behavior.

“The problem is that the mechanism we are using in Poland is a carbon copy of the mechanism used in Spain for years. It is a model which has not been challenged by either the European Commission or the European Court of Justice, despite the fact that the judges who are members are elected by a simple majority in Parliament,” he said.

Poland has long pointed to Spain’s legal system of being highly similar to Poland’s, yet Spain has consistently been ruled by a left-wing government, which may be a factor into the EU’s double-standard regarding its lack of oversight in regard to Spain.

According to Ziobro, “there is no other explanation for this than hypocrisy and political motivation and not law”.

He called the action “aggression against Poland” that was tantamount to legal hybrid warfare.

“We are experiencing aggression against Poland by way of legal pretext. There is no other way of commenting on this other than in terms of aggression – in this case, legal hybrid warfare. If we compare the commission’s aggression against Poland and its total lack of action against Germany, there is no other way to describe it,” Ziobro posted on Twitter:

Ziobro’s deputy, Michał Woś, also took to Twitter to denounce the commission’s actions.

“Aggression from European commissioners, legal hybrid warfare, double standards, treating Poles like vassals, breaching European treaties, and exceeding their own powers. Who can doubt that they are trying to create a United States of Europe? We will defend the EU as a community of sovereign states.”

On July 14, the EU’s top court instructed Poland to suspend with immediate effect the application of regulations appertaining to the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court on matters of waiving judicial immunity. On July 15, the court ruled the disciplinary system for judges in Poland is in violation of EU law.

In mid-August, the Polish government informed the commission that Poland will continue its judicial reform and the attempt to introduce accountability for judges. However, it also stated that legislation is planned in order to abolish the Disciplinary Chamber in its current form.

Title image: In this Jan. 28, 2020 file photo, Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, left, welcomes vice president of the European Commission Vera Jourova, for talks in Warsaw. (AP Images)

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