Polish leader asks court to vet bill that’s key for EU aid

Feb 9, 2023, 11:21 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2023, 1:46 pm
FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during a joint news conference with Latvia's Presiden...

FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during a joint news conference with Latvia's President Egils Levits following their talks at the Presidential Palace in Riga, Latvia, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. On Friday, Feb. 10, Duda said he is sending a new vital law on judicial accountability for a constitutional review rather than rejecting it, arguing he understands the role the law could play in helping disburse billions of euros in European Union funds to Poland. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, File)

(AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, File)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Friday he is sending a controversial new law on judicial accountability for constitutional review instead of rejecting it, because it could help unfreeze billions in European Union funds earmarked for Poland.

Brussels has suspended payment of the pandemic recovery funds to Warsaw saying the government’s policies of exerting control over the judiciary, especially through the Supreme Court, violate democratic principles. The EU has called for essential changes before Poland can get access to more than 35 billion euros ($37 billion) of grants and loans. Some previous changes proposed by Poland did not go far enough for the EU.

The current law is intended to amend that, but the EU’s response is still to be heard.

Duda said in a televised address that he understands the urgency of the matter but needs to be sure the new law — approved by parliament on Wednesday, but criticized by the opposition and by some judges — is in line with the constitution before he gives his approval.

“I have always been, and I remain, a supporter of compromise,” Duda said.

“I want the (recovery) funds to be put to use as soon as possible since they are needed for the growth of Poland’s economy,” he said. “This is why I decided not to veto this amended law.”

Duda, who has the authority to appoint judges, has voiced reservations as to the new bill and is referring it to the top Constitutional Court. The court has on many occasions upheld government-proposed legislation, including bills generally seen as controversial.

Following months of negotiations, the government presented changes that removed the controversial powers of the Supreme Court to punish and suspend judges, as one of the so-called ‘milestones” that Poland has agreed to meet to receive the recovery funds.

Duda argued that sending the bill to the court will not delay efforts to have EU funds released for Poland, because there are still the other “milestones” to be met. He has appealed to the court to act swiftly.

The bill was criticized in Poland, including among judicial circles where some argued that it was inconsistent with the country’s legal system. But the right-wing governing coalition insists it’s a compromise that should lead to the releasing of the funds, a process they say will take many months.

The new regulations move the divisive disciplinary and immunity procedures regarding judges from the Supreme Court to the main administrative court. They also broaden the possibility for the sides in a court trial to vet judicial independence and authority.

Other “milestones” that Poland needs to meet before the EU funds can be released include a bill that should liberalize permissions for installation of wind turbines.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
2 days ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
3 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
4 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
4 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
5 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Polish leader asks court to vet bill that’s key for EU aid