Age is the limit? Background of the CJEU case C-619/18 Commission v Poland

Next month the Court of Justice of the European Union will make a decision that is likely going to feature in the future textbooks on European Union law. In the case C-618/19 Commission v Poland, the Court will tackle the topic of judicial independence and the question of whether the standards of the rule of law were violated by the Polish government and parliament and thus address a critical element of European Union’s legal system.

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The first judgment of the ECJ regarding a breach of the rule of law in Poland?

While the judgment in C-619/18 Commission v. Poland is unlikely to deliver a surprise as to the assessment of the Polish ‘reforms’, interesting issues are emerging in relation to the effects of the judgment for the Polish authorities. This piece starts from a brief discussion why the case seems lost for Poland, proceeding then to analysis whether and how the judgment should be implemented.

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The legal vs. political route to rule of law enforcement

The outcome of C-619/18 Commission v Poland will affect the current rule of law discourse on three grounds: First, it might exert pressure on the Council to finally act in respect of the Art. 7(1) TEU procedure against Poland. Secondly, the prospect of pecuniary sanctions in light of an Art. 260 TFEU procedure would create an incentive for Poland to (partially) redress the situation. And lastly, the effective functioning of the preliminary ruling procedure could be endangered.

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Commission v. Poland – A Stepping Stone Towards a Strong “Union of Values”?

Commission v. Poland gives the Court not only the opportunity to put ASJP into practice but also to clarify the doctrinal framework for finally addressing the developments in “backsliding” Member States under EU law. This contribution will shed some light on these two uncertainties, suggest ways of how the Court could resolve them and explore the potential repercussions for the EU legal order.

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