Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Tuesday said he's against the proposal for the European Union to impose sanctions on Poland over its judicial reforms which, critics say, violate judicial independence.
Nauseda backs Poland in judicial reform dispute with Brussels
© LRPK / Robertas Dačkus

During his visit to Warsaw, Nauseda said the dispute between EU institutions and Poland should be resolved by means of dialogue, not sanctions. Addressing a joint press conference with is Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, Nauseda said Poland's reforms were aimed at fighting corruption.

He also paid attention to the fact that Poland demonstrated its readiness to cooperate when it responded to the EU court's order and suspended the decision on the dismissal of Supreme Court judges after their retirement age was lowered.

"Before judging, we have to get acquainted with the situation, and I think Poland's decision was motivated by its wish to fight corruption, fight nomenclatural phenomena in the judicial system," Nauseda said.

"Yes, this decision was deemed unlawful by the European Community, therefore, this law has already been suspended, which means that the Polish side responds and the Polish side is ready to cooperate," the Lithuanian president said.

"So, before speaking about any type of sanctions, we have to better understand each other, and both sides should continue the dialogue, and we should not take the path of sanctions, but take the path of better mutual understanding," Nauseda said.

He did not answer directly when asked by BNS Lithuania how Lithuania would vote, in favor, against or would abstain if EU members were to decide on sanctions.

Meanwhile, Duda said law enforcement issues are an exceptional prerogative of Member States, and not that of EU institutions.

The European Union Court of Justice ruled last month that Poland breached EU law by lowering the retirement age of Supreme Court judges, thus undermining their independence.

The Polish government suspended the law on lowering the retirement age for Supreme Court judges last year, responding to the EUCJ ruling.

If the European Commission concludes that Poland has failed to implement the court ruling, the country might face a new case and a fine.

Warsaw and Brussels have been embroiled in the legal battle since 2016 when the judicial system overhaul was launched.

Warsaw claims the reforms are aimed at fighting corruption and overhauling the judicial system which is still haunted by the legacy of Poland's Communist times.

The European Commission, however, accused Warsaw of aiming to restrict the judicial system's independence, thus, undermining the principle of separation of powers.

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