The ruling Law and Justice party has filed a bill putting an increased amount of pressure on the country’s judges. The new proposals would allow judges to be dismissed if they question the government’s judicial reforms. The Supreme Court said the party was undermining the EU law over national law.
They said in a statement: “Contradictions between Polish and EU law will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by EU institutions regarding an infringement of EU treaties, and in the longer run [will lead to] the need to leave the European Union.”
Three MPs from the party have filed a bill that would penalise judges who question the legitimacy of legal changes made by the government.
The bill states that it is forbidden to “show hostility towards other authorities of the Republic of Poland and its constitutional organs, as well as to criticise the basic principles of the Republic of Poland”.
The bill come after a November ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU which said Polish courts will have to determined whether a new chamber for judges is “sufficiently independent”.
Yesterday evening, thousands of people took to the streets in Poland to protest the legislation.
The protesters fear the legislations, if passed, would mark the end to the separation of powers in Poland.
People chanted “free courts!” as they gathered in front of the Parliament in Warsaw.
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In response to the Supreme Court statement, the European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said: “The Commission has a very clear position on protecting the judiciary from political interference.
“The Commission continues to follow the situation closely. We remain ready and available to discuss with the Polish authorities ways forward to resolving the issues at hand.”
Poland joined the EU in 2004 and public support for membership reminds strong.
The country is a major beneficiary of EU funds for its farmers and infrastructure projects.
Law and Justice has a majority in the lower house, meaning the legislation is likely to pass there.
The Senate, however, is controlled by the opposition and will seek to block it.