How Poland wants to get rid of the EU billions in the dispute over the rule of law – Politics


It was close to Zbigniew Ziobro, but the majority of the ruling coalition United Right in Poland is close. The opposition tried to get rid of the justice minister with a motion of no confidence, and on Tuesday night she managed to get 226 votes. However, 228 voted against the request, ie for Ziobro to remain in office. Ziobro, who is also the founder and chairman of the Solidarna Polska party, annoys not only the opposition, but often also his powerful coalition partner. PiS. He is much further to the right and if he had his way the government wouldn’t bother asking Brussels for money, even pretending to.

But – look at the narrow majority – PiS needs Solidarna Polska, which is why they supported the minister.

Ziobro is also the Attorney General, so he has very broad powers legal powers that the ECJ has already criticized. This concentration of power is characteristic of the Polish judicial system, which is influenced and guided by politics, which has resulted in the EU Commission not releasing any parts of the Korona Reconstruction Fund to date.

However, after a good six months there may be a movement here: in June, the Government and the EU Commission agreed on Corona Relief Fund Reform and Investment Plan agreed. The rules require governments to commit to specific reforms. Only after Warsaw achieves intermediate goals, so-called milestones, the commission can start transferring money.

This is about 22.5 billion euros and cheap loans

As for Poland, the document calls for strengthening the independence of the judiciary. It’s about a lot. Until 2026 by the end of the year, about 22.5 billion euros of grants that do not need to be repaid may flow out of the bank. In addition, Poland could get cheap loans.

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Late on Tuesday evening, PiS MPs presented a draft law that would allow Poland to achieve these milestones. On the one hand, the so-called gag law needs to be relaxed. It prevents legally appointed judges from taking action against “non-judges” who, according to EU legal standards, should not even be in office. In addition, disciplinary proceedings should no longer be carried out in chambers of professional responsibility that are not recognized according to EU standards. But before the Supreme Administrative Court. The first reading of the project in the Seimas, which is the more powerful of the two houses of parliament, is scheduled for this Thursday.

The Iustitia and Wolne Courts (Free Courts) of the Association of Polish Judges immediately rejected the project as inappropriate. After all, as it is claimed, wrongly appointed judges also worked in the Supreme Administrative Court.

On the other hand, persons close to the EU Commission claim that this law may be sufficient to achieve the stages of the reform plan. Then the first grants could float. The government discussed the proposal with the institution and the experts are satisfied with the project. But the big question is whether the government will actually get the legislation through parliament in this form, the Brussels insider said. If it succeeds, Warsaw can apply for the first grants – and the commission will check whether the guidelines have actually been set.

The movement is also taking place outside the bill: for example, two weeks ago the suspension of a particularly prominent judge, Igor Tuleja, critical of the government, was lifted. He was not allowed to work for two years. After vehemently opposing the PiS government’s judicial reforms, he was eventually accused of exceeding his powers. The fact that he is now allowed to wear the referee’s chain again is pleasing to the independent referees, but not enough for them. Other judges are still suspended.

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