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28th January 2020
Competition & State Aid Institutional law

Concerns about the rule of law in Poland reach Commission’s competition policy

In an annulment action filed by Sped-Pro against the European Commission (Case T-791/19) and published in the Official Journal, the applicant challenges the Commission for failing to take into account the undermining of independence of the judiciary and competition authorities in Poland.

In the applicant’s opinion, by referring its complaint to the Polish competition authorities, the Commission disregarded serious concerns about the independence of Polish courts and independent authorities.

In its second plea, Sped-Pro submits that the Commission ‘infringed the right to effective judicial protection and thus Article 2 TEU, read in conjunction with the second subparagraph of Article 19(1) TEU and with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in finding that the President of the Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów (Office for the protection of competition and consumers, Poland) “seems to be a body which is particularly appropriate to examine the issues raised … in the complaint” (point 21 of the contested decision)’.

Sped-Pro argues that the Commission failed to have regard, inter alia, to the issue of the reorganisation of the judicial system in Poland and to the fact that cases in the field of competition and consumer protection are examined by the new Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs in the Polish Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy), whose method of appointment is similar to that of the disciplinary chamber.

Further details of the application are available here.

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