1460 Days Later: Rule of Law in Poland R.I.P. (Part II)

Writing a year ago, we warned that the situation in Poland “has deteriorated further to the point of threatening the functioning of the whole EU legal order and therefore, the future of the EU’s internal market itself.” This is no longer a mere threat but a clear and present danger. Stalling for time would be irresponsible. On current trajectory, it is only a matter of time before Poland’s rule of law default eventually triggers a knock-on process of legal disintegration.

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The Supranational Rule of Law: Thinking the Future

Writing at the end of 2019 it must be clear that art. 7 TEU is not a viable political option at all. However, the Treaties do contain legal mechanisms to enforce the rule of law against the member states. Art. 7 is not, and must not, be the center of the rule of law world in the EU. Poland’s refusal to obey the Court’s judgments and its readiness to do everything possible to circumvent it strike at the very heart of the EU rule of law. The challenge is to use what is legally available rather than keep finding excuses for not using the mechanisms already in place.

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Discipline and Punish

The Polish rule of law saga took yet another turn for the worse. The Parliament is working on a bill to prevent judicial review of the previous judicial reforms as well as to neutralize the effects of adverse CJEU judgments. The bill is blatantly unconstitutional but without a functioning Constitutional Court it does not matter much. It is also contrary to EU law.

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Burning the Last Bridge to Europe

The Polish legal system is infected by a virulent pathogen, viz. the neoKRS, which spreads its spores with each judicial appointment. The only deduction to be drawn from the recent CJEU verdict and the subsequent ruling of the Polish Supreme Court is that the neoKRS is an illegally constituted body that illegally appoints judges who deliver invalid judgments. The more illegally appointed judges, the greater the number of invalid judgments. Any government that valued the integrity of the nation’s legal system would set about healing such a sick system without delay.

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Open Letter to the President of the European Commission

Ever since the European Commission initiated a third infringement procedure in respect to the recurrent attacks on the rule of law by Polish authorities last April, the situation has continued to seriously deteriorate. It is now upon the Commission to promptly submit to the European Court of Justice an application for interim measures in the infringement case C-791/19 Commission v Poland now pending before the Court of Justice.

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