In May 2024, the European Commission completed its analysis of Poland's state of the rule of law. As a result, Poland is no longer at risk of severe breaches of the rule of law. Poland has been facing proceedings over the rule of law since 2017 due to certain actions of the previous Polish government.

Poland mainly violated the independence of the judiciary 

Since 2017, Poland has been accused of threatening the independence of the Polish judiciary due to several legal changes adopted by the government at the time. The former Law and Justice Party (PiS) government that ruled from 2015 to 2023, amended the functioning of the general courts. For example, the Minister of Justice was given the right to appoint and dismiss court presidents and vice-presidents. 

The disciplinary chamber of the Polish Supreme Court was also the subject of Poland's dispute with the EU. Poland's judicial reforms put the decision on judges' disciplinary offences in the hands of a chamber. According to the EU Court and the European Commission, this could not be considered as impartial and may have served to persecute judges critical of the government. Thus, according to the European Commission, Poland has limited the independence of the Polish courts.

Proceedings under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union

The European Commission has initiated proceedings against Poland under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union for the interference in the judiciary described above, and for questioning the principle of the primacy of EU law over national law under the previous PiS government. Subsequently, the EU blocked Poland from receiving over 65 billion euros in EU funds.

Article 7 ensures that all member states must respect the EU's common values (principles of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human rights). According to Article 7, if the rule of law is threatened, the Commission will open a dialogue with the state in question and make recommendations to the state to address the problem. If the dialogue fails, the state's EU membership rights may be suspended. This is a last resort and has not happened in the EU's history.  

In fact, the unanimity of other EU states is required to suspend membership rights. Hungary, in particular, led by PiS ally Viktor Orbán, has never been willing to support the punishment of Poland for the rule of law. As of 2018, Hungary still faces Article 7 proceedings. 

Hungary was the only EU member state to oppose the European Commission's proposal to end the proceedings against Poland. According to Hungary's EU Affairs Minister, the European Commission's action displays that Article 7 is a tool for political blackmail. The Polish Minister of Justice admitted that Poland has not yet implemented all of the measures in the action plan needed for restoring the rule of law. However, he noted that he would continue to address them.

Action plan for reforms to restore the rule of law in Poland 

The current, more pro-EU Polish government led by Donald Tusk, presented an action plan for reforms to restore the rule of law to the European Commission at the end of February 2024. Subsequent analysis by the European Commission concluded that there was no longer a risk of serious breaches of the rule of law.

"Poland is working on a number of legislative and non-legislative measures to address concerns about the independence of the Polish judicial system. Poland has also recognised the primacy of EU law and is committed to applying all rule of law-related judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights," according to the European Commission. 

Commenting on the conclusion of the proceedings against Poland, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today marks a new chapter for Poland. After more than 6 years, we believe that the Article 7(1) procedure can be closed. I congratulate Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his government on this important breakthrough. It is the result of their hard work and determined reform efforts. The ongoing restoration of the rule of law in Poland is great for the Polish people and for our Union as a whole. It is a testament to the resilience of the rule of law and democracy in Europe.”

Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency, added: “I welcome the positive trend of the Polish authorities aiming at restoring judicial independence and addressing other concerns related to the Article 7 procedure. While work needs to continue, the actions so far let us to conclude the clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law is no longer here. It is good for the EU and good for Poland that this procedure might be soon closed.”

However, the state of the rule of law in the country will continue to be monitored and assessed in regular reports, as is the case in other EU Member States.


European Commision. (2023) The EU's Rule of Law Toolbox. Dostupné z:

European Commission. (2024) Commission intends to close Article 7(1) TEU procedure for Poland. Dostupné z:

Hervey G., Livingstone E.What is Article 7? (2016, January).  Politico. Dostupné z:

Kirova, I., Gall, L. (2024, May). European Commission Prematurely Ends Rule of Law Scrutiny of Poland. Human richts Watch Dostupné z:

Krzysztoszek, A. (2024, May). Commission withdraws Article 7 proceedings against Poland. Euractiv. Dostupné z:

Krzysztoszek, A. (2023, June). Polish judicial reforms violate EU law, EU court rules. Euractiv. Dostupné z:

Poland: Independence of the judiciary and the right to fair trial at risk. (2017, August 10). Amnesty International. Dostupné z:

Pyka, A. (2024, May). EU closes Article 7 rule-of-law proceedings against Poland after seven years. Notes from Poland. Dostupné z:

Scheppele, L.,Pech, L. Is Article 7 Really the EU’s “Nuclear Option? (2018, March). VerfBlog. Dostupné z:


The EU says Poland no longer violates rule of law. European flag (5089697932), author: fdecomite, 17 October 2010, source: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0 DEED.