Poland on Saturday hit back against European Commission statements on the independence of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, deepening a row between Brussels and Warsaw over controversial judicial reforms.
“We treat this … as a very serious use of double standards regarding what expectations the Commission has of Poland and of itself,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said, referring to a 2017 Commission recommendation calling on Polish authorities to “refrain from actions and public statements which could further undermine the legitimacy of the judiciary.”
Jabłoński’s statement comes in response to comments made by Commission spokesperson Christian Wigand on Friday, in which he expressed concern about the Polish government’s response to a Supreme Court ruling that found that judges appointed by a politically controlled body are illegitimate.
The surprise ruling on Thursday threw the country into chaos, with the Polish government saying it would ignore the ruling. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called it “an unprecedented act that could lead to the destabilization of the legal order” and said he would ask the country’s Constitutional Tribunal to get involved.
“The independence and legitimacy of the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland have been seriously undermined and it is no longer able to provide an effective constitutional review,” Wigand said. He added that the Commission is also worried about “follow-up” comments being made by the Polish government in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
Jabłoński tweeted Friday evening that Poland’s foreign ministry had summoned the Commission’s representative to Poland over the “inadmissible” comments.
The latest stand-off comes ahead of a planned visit by Věra Jourová, the European commissioner for values and transparency, to Warsaw on Tuesday, when she is due to meet officials and the president of Poland’s Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf.