By Handan Kazanci
ISTANBUL (AA) – Poland’s parliament adopted a bill which will abolish a disciplinary chamber for judges that was opposed by the European Union, local media reported Thursday.
“The Sejm, (or) lower house of the Polish parliament, on Thursday passed a draft law envisaging the dissolving of a disciplinary chamber for judges at the Supreme Court,” Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The agency said the decision clears the way for “Poland to unblock billions in (COVID-19) recovery funds from Brussels.”
While 231 lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court, 208 were against and 13 abstained, the agency added.
According to PAP, the bill needs to be approved by the Senate.
“Under the adopted amendment initiated by President Andrzej Duda, judges who currently sit in the chamber would be offered the possibility of being transferred to any other chamber of the Supreme Court that they wish, or of taking retirement,” the agency added.
“The disciplinary panel will be replaced by a new body at the Supreme Court called the Chamber of Professional Responsibility. It would consist of 11 judges appointed by the president,” it said.
In October last year, the European Court of Justice imposed a fine on Poland of €1 million ($1.1 million) a day for ignoring a ruling on the country’s judicial reforms, escalating a row between the EU and Warsaw.
The court said the decision was "necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that Union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law."
The EU and Poland have recently been at loggerheads over issues such as judicial independence, the rule of law, and whether national laws are above EU law.