The European Commission has reportedly accepted plans proposed by the Polish government regarding legislative reform of its judiciary, which should unlock EU recovery funds, according to Poland’s commercial radio station RMF FM, which has spoken to a number of unnamed high-ranking EU officials.
The legislation will now be submitted to the Polish parliament and awaits the commission’s formal approval.
Should an agreement be reached, Poland will now be able to file its request for payment of EU recovery funds without fear of immediate rejection. The EU commission will have two months to process the request for the first tranche of the EU recovery funds owed to Poland. This is why some EU officials have joked that “the compromise is for Christmas and the payment will be for Easter.”
Poland’s Minister for European Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, who coordinated the negotiations in Brussels, said the legislation would be submitted to the Polish parliament immediately and confirmed that the legislation meets the commission’s expectations on fulfilling the milestone of judicial independence.
The new legislation makes the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) responsible for disciplinary matters involving judges. The composition and procedure of the NSA are not questioned by either the European Commission or the European Court of Justice. The legislation also enables judges to test the independence of judicial processes they are adjudicating without the threat of any disciplinary sanction.
The commission had accepted the Polish operational program for the use of the €35.4 billion from the EU recovery fund back in June. However, the actual payment of the funds has been awaiting the fulfillment of agreed milestones with regard to the independence of the judiciary, which the commission argues are necessary to improve the investment climate in Poland.