• 13:11
  • 21.08.2017
EU has Poland in its sights over attempted judicial reform

EU has Poland in its sights over attempted judicial reform

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Poland has been given a month to address the “grave concerns” of fellow EU member states over its controversial judicial reform.
Although Polish president Andrzej Duda has vetoed two out of four Bills of immediate concern, the European Commission on Wednesday formally gave notice of further action against Poland by the EU with a “Rule of Law Recommendation” that may trigger a collective warning by member states under article 7 of the European treaty.
The procedure, which has never yet been used by heads of government, allows for the eventual suspension of a state’s voting rights for “serious and persistent breaches” of fundamental EU values. That has to be agreed by unanimity, although the formal warning can be agreed by four-fifths of member states. This may well happen in September.
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Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who has led Brussels’ efforts to broker a formal dialogue with Warsaw, also warned that should Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party try to sack any of the country’s supreme court judges, the EU was “immediately ready to trigger the article 7 procedure”.
He attacked Poland for undermining the rule of law, specifically the independence of the judiciary, fundamental EU values reflected in article 2 of the Treaty of European Union.
Separately the commission agreed to initiate infringement proceedings against Poland in the European Court of Justice over breaches of EU law by the Bill that Mr Duda did not veto, the Law on the Ordinary Courts, as soon as it is officially published. 
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