The Polish government is on the verge of giving in on a key point of its rule-of-law feud with the European Union after Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the countryâ€™s deputy prime minister and ruling party leader, said it would drop a controversial judicial oversight mechanism.
Kaczynski said the so-called disciplinary chamber for judges would be dissolved in September. The EU has said the chamber goes against the blocâ€™s fundamental principles by undermining judgesâ€™ independence.
â€œWe will abolish the Disciplinary Chamber as it currently stands and therefore the subject of the dispute will disappear,â€ Kaczynski said in an interview with PAP, the state-owned news agency. â€œIt will also be a test of whether the EU has at least the appearance of showing goodwill.â€
Campaigners have criticized the chamber as emblematic of a wider erosion of democratic norms in Poland. The EUâ€™s top court last month ruled the it was incompatible with fundamental rights, and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders set Warsaw an August 16 deadline to remove it.
Kaczynskiâ€™s comments came a day after Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro accused the EU of blackmail over the issue and warned the country should not remain part of the EU at any cost. â€œI am a staunch opponent of succumbing to the illegal blackmail of the European Union,â€ he told the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
Even Kaczynskiâ€™s pledge to ax the chamber came with barbs for the Court of Justice of the European Union. â€œI do not recognize such judgements,â€ he said in reference to the EU courtâ€™s call to scrap the disciplinary chamber. â€œThey definitely go beyond the treaties.â€