These places were created by reform and expansion of the court and according to original plans, all additional judges were expected to be included in panels and start working as of September this year.
On June 27, the Slovak Judicial Council decided on Ján Mazák as the candidate for this post. In a secret ballot, he received nine votes from an 18-member council – and thus only a single vote was missing for him to be approved and suggested as an official candidate by the government, the SITA newswire wrote.
The previous Slovak candidate Mária Patakyová who passed in the Judicial Council as well as the government was refused in the advisory committee in Luxembourg as he does not speak French sufficiently – the working language at the court. Chairwoman of the Judicial Council, Jana Bajánková, told media that a new election will be organised as soon as possible. “Judicial Council is a collective body, it decided through a secret ballot, and I have to respect this decision,” she commented. I do not have a crystal ball to see into the heads of the council’s members and to know how they voted, and why.”
Currently, Mazák is one of the advisors of President Andrej Kiska and a professor at the Institute of European Law and Department of International law at the Law School of the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice. He commented for media that Slovakia is now in a very delicate situation. “As a presiding country of the Council of the EU, we will be in a position of a state violating EU treaty and the treaty on functioning of the EU which does not cast a good light,” he said, adding that for him ,the whole situation is incomprehensible. As the ballot was secret, he sees no reason for council members not to support him, although he fulfils all the requirements. “But I do not perceive it as a personal insult; the crucial thing is for the Judicial Council to operate as a whole and to bear its responsibility,” he claimed, as quoted by SITA. “In this case, it failed to bear this responsibility.” He added he has no problem running again, although he cannot do so in the next vote. He still pursues his goal which is to work for the good of the EU’s Court of Justice and partially also for the good of Slovakia.
Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská who participated in the June 27 session of the council said that we will probably have to figure out what to do next, as the situation with candidates for judges in European institutions keeps repeating itself. “We obviously do have a problem, and this is a very distressful situation,” the minister summed up, according to SITA.