Poland ordered to pay €1m a day by EU court in bitter rule of law dispute

Poland ordered to pay €1m a day by EU court in bitter rule of law dispute

THE EU's highest court has dealt Poland a serious financial blow, ordering it to pay €1m a day for not complying with its decision over judicial reforms.

Poland was ordered to suspend a controversial "Disciplinary Chamber" earlier this month, but has failed to do so – calling the primacy of EU law into question.

The Chamber at the centre of the bitter legal row between Warsaw and Brussels enables the Supreme Court of Poland to reprimand judges who engage in "political activity".

Punishment of judges could amount to a fine, salary reduction, or even removal from their position.

Earlier this month, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal rejected the primacy of EU law by ruling that aspects of EU law were incompatible with the Polish constitution.

The decision was described by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as a "direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order".

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has spear-headed the effort to prevent Polish judges from using EU law to challenge his government's judicial changes.

The escalation in the stand-off risks exacerbating a conflict between Poland and the EU that’s playing out on a number of fronts.

With its openly-held socially conservative catholic views and insistence on more, not less state sovereignty, Poland, along with Victor Orban’s Hungary, is the black sheep of the EU family of nations.

In addition to the fines, the European Commission is yet to approve €57bn (£48bn; $66bn) of Covid-19 recovery funds earmarked for Poland, which will give it leverage to pressure Warsaw into settling the judiciary dispute.