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Polish Parliament Amends Supreme Court Law That Triggered EU Sanctions

© REUTERS / Kacper PempelJournalists take Poland to Court
Journalists take Poland to Court - Sputnik International
WARSAW (Sputnik) – Polish lawmakers amended the law on the Supreme Court, allowing judges who were forced to retire after reaching the age of 65 to return to office in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, a Sputnik correspondent reported Wednesday.

The bill to revoke the lowering of the retirement age was introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. The bill was considered by the Sejm in three readings and passed earlier on Wednesday.

At the same time, the newly appointed judges of the Supreme Court will still retire at the age of 65.

PiS lawmaker Lukasz Schreiber said that it was the position of the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) that made the Polish parliament amend the law.

READ MORE: EU Commission Sues Poland Over Independence of Country's Supreme Court

In turn, opposition lawmakers criticized the bill, stressing that the interim order of the ECJ had already let the judges aged over 65 to return to work. The also slammed the move, saying that they did not have enough time to fully study the draft law.

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Earlier, the law, one of a batch of motions aiming to overhaul the country’s judiciary, lowered the retirement age for Supreme Court judges to 65 from 70, allowing only those who received the president's approval to keep their jobs.

In October, the ECJ ruled that Poland must halt the application of a law that caps the age of Supreme Court judges at 65 and reinstate those who have been forced out. The EU top court stressed that Poland violated EU laws by giving the president the power to decide whether to extend the active judicial service of Supreme Court judges. PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski then said that Poland will appeal the ECJ’s order.

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The European Union has sharply criticized Poland's judicial reform saying that it undermines the independence of Polish courts. The European Commission has sent several letters to the Polish government with its recommendations and stated its readiness to invoke Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would suspend Poland's membership rights in the European Union, such as voting in the European Council.

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