What will the EU's case against Poland achieve?
The EU Commission has referred Poland to the European Court of Justice for forcing top judges into retirement. It argues that the government in Warsaw's reform of the country's Supreme Court undermined the principle of judicial independence. Commentators welcome the step but fear it comes too late.
The right step, too late
The EU Commission is finally putting real pressure on Warsaw, Deutschlandfunk writes:
“Brussels had little success with the Article 7 procedure against Poland. Because for sanctions against Warsaw to be pushed through in that way all EU countries would have to support it. The same isn't true of the current case before the ECJ: its decision would be binding for Poland. And if the government simply decided to ignore the ruling it would not only face severe penalties, but also accusations that it is taking the country out of the EU. ... The EU Commission should have pulled out the heavy artillery much sooner. In that way it could have had more bearing on Poland's judicial reform - or at least have thrown more sand in the works of the reform-crazed Polish government.”
A success for Polish patriots
Writing in Gazeta Wyborcza, law professor Marcin Matczak sees the EU's lawsuit as a major opportunity for Poland:
“The Polish government wasn't expecting such a resolute reaction from the EU Commission and now has a problem. The defenders of Poland's rule of law now have the chance to protect the Supreme Court from being taken over completely [by the PiS]. This is a huge success for a clever, pro-European brand of Polish patriotism. A Poland that adheres to EU law and respects European institutions is a strong Poland in Europe. There is no meaningful alternative to this kind of Poland.”