Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Violations of the rule of law – ECJ punishes Poland and Hungary

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The European Court of Justice has ruled in two cases that the states violate European law. It is about influencing the judiciary and migration policy.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has once again declared a regulation in the current Polish judicial system to be inadmissible. The judges ruled on Tuesday that it was against EU law that the Justice Minister, who is also the prosecutor general, could assign judges to higher criminal courts and terminate such a secondment at any time. It must be ensured that such a delegation never serves as an instrument for the political control of court decisions, announced the ECJ. The District Court of Warsaw asked the ECJ to interpret EU law.

The ECJ has ruled several times that parts of the Polish judicial reform violate European law. Most recently, at the end of October, he imposed a daily fine of one million euros on Poland because the country failed to implement a decision on the so-called disciplinary body for judges. The EU Commission and Poland have been arguing for a long time about compliance with the rule of law principles that are binding for EU countries.

The court also ruled that the criminalization of refugee workers in Hungary was illegal. The EU Commission had previously taken the country to the ECJ. Specifically, the Hungarian regulation is about help for asylum seekers and about a new reason for rejecting asylum applications.

These are rejected if the asylum seeker entered a country in which he was not threatened with persecution or imminent danger. Hungary also penalizes organizations that support asylum procedures in cases where the Hungarian criteria are not met. The package of measures also became known as the “Stop Soros” law in 2018. The name refers to the US philanthropist George Soros, who supports Hungarian aid organizations.

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