Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

European Union

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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31. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions Ireland will be advocating for at European Union level in response to ongoing efforts by the right-wing Polish government to undermine the judiciary in Poland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56493/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Ireland is very concerned by recent reforms to Poland’s justice system. We have consistently underlined the importance of upholding core EU values including the rule of law. An independent judiciary that can exercise its function without interference is a core tenet of the rule of law.

Ireland has expressed this position through active participation in the Article 7 hearings at the General Affairs Council regarding developments of concern in Poland’s justice system. We will continue to engage in dialogue on this matter at EU level.

In July, the European Court of Justice determined that the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber in Poland, which substantially altered the country’s disciplinary regime for judges, was not compatible with EU law and should be suspended. A subsequent decision by the Court in October required Poland to pay a daily penalty due to its failure to comply in full with the measures arising from the July judgment. Ireland has and will continue to urge Poland to comply in full with these rulings and orders.

Ireland’s position is clear - access to EU funds should be contingent on upholding EU values, particularly rule of law. We view the Regulation on a General Regime of Conditionality for the Protection of the Union Budgetas fair, proportionate, and serving an important purpose in addressing challenges of the kind associated with Poland’s justice system. As such, Ireland recently intervened along with nine other Member States on the side of the Council and Parliament to oppose an action to annul the Conditionality Regulation brought by Poland and Hungary. Judgment on this case is now awaited.

Ireland also supports Commission President Von der Leyen’s recent statement that Poland must comply with the decisions of the Court of Justice including the dismantling of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber to access the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Programme funds.

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