Poland’s new left-liberal government signals it will put central bank chief on trial in shocking move

Poland’s new parliamentary majority has made no secret it wants to get rid of the head of the NBP, but CJEU rulings could get in the way, as the court has protected the independence of central banks

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: niezalezna.pl
A banner on the building of the National Bank of Poland says, "We protect the value of the Polish currency," in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday Sept. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The next likely Polish prime minster, Donald Tusk, on Oct. 21 said that the new parliamentary majority is considering putting the head of the central bank, Adam Glapiński, in front of a state tribunal for allegedly failing to react to inflation. Should Glapiński be put on trial, he would allegedly be suspended from performing his duties and, if convicted, have to leave his post. 

Outgoing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacted to the news of a potential trial by saying he would be talking to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Central Bank to warn them of the threat to the independence of Poland’s central bank.

Meanwhile, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) asked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) whether it has in the past made rulings on the independence of central banks. The court’s press office reply included information on how in 2019, in a ruling on the suspension of the Latvian head of the country’s central bank, the court decided that the decision was invalid because Latvia had failed to produce sufficient reasons for that decision. 

The case involved corruption charges against the head of the Latvian central bank, and the CJEU adjudicated the case on the basis of the charter of the European System of Central Banks (ESBC) and European Central Bank (ECB) for countries that have adopted the euro currency. 

According to the decisions taken by the heads of central banks, any central bank must be totally independent and therefore they cannot be dismissed or stopped from performing their functions by any institution other than the appropriate court of law that actually relates to the case in question.

According to leading Polish constitutional lawyer Ryszard Piotrowski, the head of the central bank cannot be suspended by parliament because he is independent of it. According to him, putting Glapiński on trial does not mean he can be suspended. 

According to Poland’s constitution, the head of the central bank is nominated by the president of Poland and elected by parliament for a term of six years. He can only be removed from office by the State Tribunal.

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