Poland has asked the European Union to delay fines for undermining judicial independence as the country dismantles a controversial disciplinary court for judges. This is stated in a letter that was sent to the European Union last week and was viewed by the Reuters news agency.
The disciplinary committee was established in 2017 by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and is seen as a way to punish judges who disagree with the government. Poland has to pay 70 million euros in penalty payments because the country has not stopped the work of the disciplinary court, despite being ordered to do so by the highest European court.
The Polish ambassador to the EU writes that the head of the Polish Supreme Court has already stopped forwarding some cases to the disciplinary committee. No details about the decommissioning were provided. The ambassador also said that the government is discussing legislative proposals for further judicial system reforms. He wants the European fines to be suspended until after the reforms.
Brussels recently announced it would send payment requests to Poland at short notice and said it has ways to secure the money in the event that the government refuses to pay. The government and the EU are also embroiled in another conflict involving a lot of money. In September, Poland was fined EUR 500,000 per day for refusing to close a lignite mine.