EU’s top court fines Poland one million euros per day in rule of law dispute

The European Court of Justice has punished Poland with a fine of a million euros per day over the EU member’s failure to correct the justice problems the court pointed to this summer, Belgian news portal EurActiv reports.
In July, 2021, the Luxembourg-based court ruled that Poland has to suspend certain powers of the country’s disciplinary chamber for judges. Among others, they were the power to sanction judges, who apply EU law on judicial independence, its power to lift judicial immunity and to retroactively lift all decisions already made.
As the situation deteriorated, the European Commission asked the EU court on September 7 to introduce a daily financial penalty for the member state government’s non-compliance with the order. The Polish government, in turn, argued that it did not have the power to implement the order.
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«Compliance with the interim measures … is necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that Union is founded, in particular, that of the rule of law», the European Court of Justice Vice-President Lars Bay Larsen noted in the order. The EU top court concluded that the Polish government’s plans to reform the judicial system within a year would not prevent «the occurrence of serious and irreparable harm» to the EU legal order, EurActiv reports.