WARSAW (Poland) -- Poland has replaced the controversial panel that disciplined judges by a new accountability board -- the latest twist to a long-running dispute between Poland and the European Union over its judiciary independence. Poland's top politician stated Tuesday that he hoped that the EU would react in a "proper way."
Over criticisms of Poland's rule of law, the EU has frozen pandemic funds worth billions of euro for Poland.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski insists that Poland has fulfilled the EU's requirements for changes to the regulations governing the judiciary.
Kaczynski stated, "I hope that the reaction will be correct and in line with (EU) treaties," reiterating his long-term opinion that EU bodies had been violating the bloc’s treaties when they approached Poland.
Late Monday, President Andrzej Duba signed the changes to the disciplinary rules into law.
Kaczynski who is the leader of the ruling party also stated that the EU's recent approach to Warsaw's government has changed for the better, and there are "elements goodwill" to be found. Poland has accepted millions of Ukrainian refugees and is supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russian invasion.
Duda's changes are superficial, and continue political control over judges. This is what makes Warsaw and Brussels so conflictuated.
Ursula von der Leyen is the EU's chief executive and has warned that no money would be paid if Poland does not reach the "milestones", which include abolishing the disciplinary Chamber, rewriting its rules, and allowing judges to have their cases reviewed by the chamber.
Duda's changes remove the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Chamber. This chamber was used to sanction controversial judges. The president will replace it with a new accountability organization.
One of the judges who were disciplined for criticizing the government's actions was not reinstated. He was instead appointed to another section of court and sent on leave.
Last week, Von der Leyen was criticised by centrist legislators in the European Parliament. The conditional acceptance of the pandemic recovery plan of Poland opened up the possibility of disbursement funds of approximately 36 billion euros ($39billion). The lawmakers claimed that the decision was premature because Poland had not met EU's conditions.
Poland has suffered a huge loss from the Disciplinary Chamber. For failing to dismantle the Disciplinary Chamber, Poland was fined a record 1,000,000 euros per day by the European Court of Justice.