Rule of Law: European Commission takes next step in infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Today, the European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Supreme Court. The new law lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, which puts 27 out of 72 sitting Supreme Court judges at risk of being forced to retire, including the First President of the Court.

The Commission maintains that the Polish law is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Commission has carried out a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent by the Commission on 2 July 2018. The response of the Polish authorities does not alleviate the Commission’s legal concerns. The Commission has therefore moved to the next stage of the infringement procedure. The Polish authorities now have one month to take the necessary measures to comply with this Reasoned Opinion. If the Polish authorities do not take appropriate measures, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. More information is available in a press release in all official languages, here.