EU Threatens Legal Action Against Poland Over Judicial Reforms

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte leave Warsaw Poland as they head to Germany

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte leave Warsaw Poland as they head to Germany

He said that the European Commission was planning to launch legal action against Poland next week.

The EU's Article 7 allows the bloc to strip a nation of its voting rights.

But it was not immediately clear whether the commission could muster the support required from the other 27 member countries, particularly from Poland's ally Hungary.

The Commission pointed out that Poland's acts "would have a very significant negative impact on the independence of the judiciary and would increase the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland".

"Collectively, they would abolish any remaining judicial independence and put the judiciary under full political control of a government".

In an accompanying statement, the Commission said it "urges the Polish authorities to put the new laws on hold" and to re-engage Timmermans in a dialogue to address the "serious concerns".

Since winning 2015 elections, Poland's conservative government has also stepped up state control over public broadcasters and changed the way the constitutional court operates.

A draft law giving the Polish justice minister power to make appointments to the supreme court triggered angry exchanges between the ruling party and the opposition that ended up suspending debate in the Polish parliament late Tuesday.

Debate was due to resume early Wednesday.

Timmermans had in recent months resisted pressure from European Parliament and other critics to move to sanctions, favouring continued dialogue with PiS.

Several thousand people demonstrated in Warsaw on Sunday over the reforms, with some calling PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski a "dictator".

Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has sparked protests at home and criticism from the European Union with its plan to allow parliament, rather than judges, to select the 25 members of its National Council of the Judiciary (KRS).

The bill calls for the immediate dismissal of the current Supreme Court judges, except those chosen by the justice minister.

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