— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) May 23, 2019
A month from today the European Court of Justice will decide on the important case the European Commission filed against Poland about the way the government of that country is trying to interfere in the independence of the judiciary.
That will be a very important decision for Malta and for the case filed by Repubblika.
The situations are not identical. The Commission has intervened in Poland because the government was looking at changing the system (on the retirement of judges) from the system Poland had when it first joined the EU. That intervention made things worse which is what made the Commission move.
Repubblika’s complaint is about a system that has always been with us here in Malta. But as the Venice Commission remarked in its report, attitudes to what constitutes proper democratic structures and democratic life change over time and our system is no longer suitable to meet today’s standards of judicial independence.
If the cases are different why does Poland’s case have a bearing on Malta’s?
Because in both cases the grounds for the case are that when a Member State of the EU fails to guarantee judicial independence, it is breaching provisions of the EU Treaty: in other words the conditions for its membership.
In that respect Malta’s and Poland’s cases are identical. And that respect is fundamental because as Judge Mark Chetcuti recognised in his decision of yesterday, the European Court’s decision will give direction to the case being made here in Malta.
Yesterday the government was going all premature celebrating how this matter is closed. We’ll see, dear Joseph. We’ll see.