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POLAND: Second Stage of Infringement Procedure

The European Commission decided on Tuesday, to move forward with the infringement procedure triggered against Poland. The Commission remains unsatisfied with explanation of the Polish government regarding the disputed amendment bill on the Supreme Court. At the beginning of July, the Commission issued a formal notice – a response was delivered by the government earlier this month. According to the Commission’s statement, after a thorough analysis, it is still of the opinion that Poland is in jeopardy of the Treaty on European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Commission has now decided to send a reasoned opinion – the second stage of the procedure. If the government, within a month, fails to adhere to the recommendations, the European Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

At the beginning of August, the Supreme Court referred five questions for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU and suspended the application of the provisions of the bill on the Supreme Court determining the rules for the retirement of judges of the Supreme Court. If the Commission decides to refer Poland to the CJEU, the two cases may consequently be combined. It remains to be seen whether the Polish government will change its tone. Previously, it applied the Commission’s recommendations regarding local courts before the case was referred to the CJEU.