The Brief: ECJ rules Polish reform is against EU law

The Brief: ECJ rules Polish reform is against EU law
By Joao Duarte FerreiraSandor Zsiros, Shona Murray
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The ECJ has ruled the 2017 reforms that lowered the retirement age for judges in Poland compromise the independence of courts and are gender discrimination.


In 2017 Poland's ruling party Law and Justice implemented controversial reforms.

In order to evict what they called 'old judges with communists past' they lowered the retirement age of judges: to 60 years for women and 65 years for men.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now ruled this is against EU law.

"Basically the court rejects the so called reforms of the polish courts and I am very pleased to see that the European Court of Justice is watching over the independence of the judiciary in all European member states. And I think it's a very clear signal to any government that might want to try and capture the judiciary this is not acceptable in the EU," Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veldm explained.

According to the ECJ ruling, the reforms undermine the independence of courts and discriminate between genders.

"What ECJ said is basically that rule of law is tangible. Because very often from Warsaw or from Budapest for that matter, we hear arguments that rule of law is a very vague concept. It's not vague. It's a concept that we have in our court system, that we have in rules, and that we adjudication about for many years. And this is proof for that. So I think this is indeed a confirmation and a victory for the rule of law as a concept," German MEP Sergey Lagodinsky said.

Poland's Foreign Ministry said the ruling was unjustified since Warsaw amended the laws last year allowing both male and female judges retire at the same age.

And other news in brief...

Indigenous leaders from the Amazon rainforest stood in solidarity outside of the European Commission today to demand an end to human rights injustices in the region. Human rights abuses, they claim, are driven by the relentless exploitation of natural resources. They blame Europe as well as the Brazilian government.

"Today we're here to denounce the regression in the rights of indigenous peoples, in environmental laws and the indigenous organisations of Brazil by the current government,” Nara, indigenous leader of the Baré people said.

The activists demand an end to the abuses that have increased since European companies started to invest heavily in the region. They say the new trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur is a big part of the problem.

"Europe knows. Europe is aware of the crimes that they are committing. It needs to review its budgets and what it buys from Brazil, mainly the wood because it is this trade that is killing our relatives over there,” Kretã from the Kaingang tribe explained.

They protest in Brussels as a cry for help as many in their home region are at the edge of survival.

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