In its third annual rule of law report, the European Commission urges Poland to ensure that the roles of the minister of justice and prosecutor general, currently exercised by Zbigniew Ziobro, are kept separate.
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On Wednesday, the European Commission presented its third annual report on the state of the rule of law in the 27 EU countries. The report is intended as a "cautionary" supplement to Brussels' usual activities in the framework of anti-infringement investigations, the Article Seven procedure, and overseeing commitments under the individual National Recovery Plans (NRPs), which, in the case of Poland, also include changes to the judicial system.

- This year's report comes in an unusual geopolitical context. Putin did not like the fact that Ukraine is on the path of a democratic state. By helping to uphold the rule of law in Ukraine, we can only remain credible if our own house is put in order. And that means addressing our own challenges and preventing problems from escalating- argued Vera Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission.

The President’s bill is a good start, but...

Jourová said at the end of June that the judicial reform bill proposed by President Duda, which comes into force this week, is insufficient to unblock the NRP money. And while the Commission emphasizes that a detailed evaluation of the new Polish law, which, among other things, abolishes the Disciplinary Chamber, is still underway, its shortcomings were recently also pointed out by Ursula von der Leyen. - The new law does not provide judges with the ability to question the status of another judge without risking committing a disciplinary offense. These are the issues that need to be resolved in order to fulfill [Poland's] obligations, and to unblock the first payment- the European Commission President said. The issue is thorny, as it involves checking the independence of neo-judges appointed with the participation of the politicized National Council of the Judiciary.

Speaking to a group of reporters in Brussels, Jourová rejected President Andrzej Duda's accusations that her criticism was an ideologically motivated attack. - "It was not ideological, but made from a legal point of view"- Jourová said, pointing out that for the time being this was her own assessment, as the European Commission - due to its ongoing evaluation of the "Duda bill" - has not yet formulated an official position. - The law proposed by President Duda is a first step in the right direction made in the past seven years. It is a reaction to the unbearable issue of the Disciplinary Chamber. But at the same time, no one can be surprised that I demand all the required guarantees for Polish judges not to face disciplinary proceedings for the content of their decisions- Jourová explained.

She stressed that NRP funds should go to Poland, not least because the country made a great effort to help Ukraine. - But if there are already clear conditions [specified in the NRP], they should be met in full. I think this is logical- Jourová stressed.

The disputed provisions on verification of the status of judges, as pointed out by the Vice President and von der Leyen, are one of the CJEU's interim measures, for the violation of which Poland faces a penalty that increases by another million euros every single day (it currently amounts to over EUR 250 million) and is successively deducted from EU budget transfers. To stop the penalty clock, a suspension of the disputed provisions of the so-called "muzzle law" would suffice, but it is unclear whether, for example, a suspension would suffice for the purposes of the NRP.

Rule of Law Report: Roles of the Justice Minister and Prosecutor-General should be kept separate

Other than the need to comply with CJEU rulings, in this year’s rule of law report, the Commission recommends Poland to separate the functions of the minister of justice and the prosecutor general (currently exercised by Zbigniew Ziobro), i.e. to ensure the independence of the prosecution's actions from the government. "Concerns remain about institutionalized corruption and the risk of impunity caused by unequal treatment of corruption cases for political reasons. These concerns stem from the increased influence of the executive branch of government on the judiciary, prosecution and police" - Commission experts write. The European Prosecutor's Office is currently conducting 23 investigations into Poland, but the Polish prosecutor's office refuses to cooperate in this regard.

Additionally, the European Commission is calling for a solution to the problem of "the broad scope of immunities of senior executives", as well as a halt to "provisions granting impunity for public officials who commit the crime of abuse of office" (it started by exempting officials from criminal and disciplinary liability in public procurement during the pandemic). Poland should also clean up lobbying laws, introduce a standardized online system of asset declarations for public officials and members of parliament, and undertake "more systematic follow-ups" to Supreme Audit Office inspections.

The European Commission recommends that Poland adhere to European standards as to public media, and, recalling the issue of the American-owned TVN 24, stick to transparent and non-discriminatory rules regarding broadcasting concessions. - Our reports included a description of the issues surrounding Pegasus, mentioning Poland, Hungary, Spain, and France. The rule of law requires that the use of such tools by the services of EU countries be subject to scrutiny that fully complies with EU law, including such fundamental rights as the protection of personal data, the safety of journalists, and freedom of expression- Jourová said.

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    Wystarczy dać te środki organizacjom pozarządowym i pisiory nie będą miały jaku kraść a wredne ryje zamkną jeżeli chodzi o Ukrainę bo praktycznie niewiele pomagali a wręcz utrudniali . Zastanawiam, ilu tak 

     całym sercem jest za walczącą Ukrainą? A ilu zapiekłych w nienawiści z ludu pisowskiego po prostu przypadło jak pająki w ciemnych kątach i nienawidzi. I czeka, aż ci dobrzy się zmęczą. Wtedy wypełzną na światło. Na hasło z Nowogrodzkiej.
    już oceniałe(a)ś
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