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ECJ President warns Poland over judiciary reform as Venice Commission visits Poland ahead of Rule of Law vote in EP

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Members of the Venice Commission visited the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) in Warsaw, to meet officials from the Justice Ministry, top courts, both houses of parliament and the judiciary governance body.

The visit is happening ahead of the European Parliament at its session in Strasbourg next week will debate and vote on a resolution concerning the state of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary.

Earlier on Thursday, Europe’s top judge Koen Lenaerts warned Poland over  the proposed changes in the judiciary system, saying there is no place in the European Union for countries that do not have independent courts.

The President of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), made his comments in Warsaw, weeks after Poland’s lower house of parliament approved a draft law that would allow judges who question planned reforms to be disciplined.

The European Commission has said the legislation would imperil the rule of law, deepening a standoff with the governing Law and Justice party in which the EU executive launched legal action in 2019 to try to preserve Polish courts’ independence.

“You can’t be a member of the European Union if you don’t have independent, impartial courts operating in accordance with fair trial rule, upholding union law,” Lenaerts said during a debate at Warsaw University.

“Mutual trust is not blind trust, mutual trust is a trust which must be deserved, which must be earned day after day by all the member states, also by Belgium, by the Netherlands, by Luxemburg, by Portugal, but also by Poland, Hungary, the Balkan states and so on.”

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