Ziobro vs. Jourova: Polish justice minister clashes with European commissioner

The next chapter in Poland’s war with the European Union over the shape of the Polish judiciary is being written

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: wpolityce.pl
Poland's Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, left, welcomes vice president of the European Commission Vera Jourova,right, for talks on the conflict over the government's much-criticized taking of steps to control the judiciary in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova reportedly said during a closed meeting with Polish journalists that “unfortunately, the dependence of judges on politicians has increased in Poland. A judicial dualism has been created, and many decisions are questioned,”

“This is total chaos which his being deepened by the negation of rulings made by European courts. I wonder, how many more people will have to tell Minister Zbigniew Ziobro that what he is doing is wrong?” Jourova was to have asked, according to Wirtualna Polska journalist Marcin Makowski.

Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro hit back against the Commission Vice President’s claims on Twitter.

“How many people have to tell Vera Jourova that what she is doing is encouraging Polish judges to anarchy and is creating judicial chaos which strikes at the safety of citizens? The EU cannot question the shape of our judiciary. Poland is a sovereign state and the Commission will not change this,” he posted.

“What is considered a normal procedure in Spain or Germany when it comes to the election of judges with parliament’s participation, has become an accusation of violating rule of law in Poland. I do not accept the hypocrisy and blackmail from the side of EU officials or the attempts to turn Poland into Brussels’ vassal state,” Ziobro declared.

During the meeting, Jourova also asked whether the Polish government intended to abide the European Court of Justice (ECJ) verdicts and if so, when and how.

“Why do we consider this issue a priority? Because Polish judges are also EU judges and have a right to file inquiries to the ECJ. We are able to function as a community and single market this way,” she said.

The Commission’s vice president added that “without respect for ECJ verdicts, we are unable to ensure the same rules of the game for all member states.”

On July 4, 2021 the European Court of Justice obliged Poland to immediately suspend state regulations which referred to the competencies of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber in issues such as waiving judge immunities.

On Sept. 7, 2021, the European Commission decided to turn to the European Court of Justice to impose fines on Poland for not abiding the decision concerning interim measures. The European Commission believed that Poland had not taken all necessary steps to fully execute the EU court’s verdict.

By the end of October, the European Court of Justice announced that Poland has been obliged to pay a €1 million fine per day to the Commission for not suspending the regulations.

Moreover, in September, the European Court of Justice also imposed a fine on Poland for not suspending extraction in the Turów lignite mine. A complaint concerning the mine had been filed by Czechia.

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