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European Commission unsettled about the rule of law situation in Poland

25.1.2020

The European Commission said on Friday it was “very concerned” with the state of the rule of law in Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has overhauled the courts, precipitating a deepening standoff between old and new judges.

“The Commission is very concerned about the rule of law situation in Poland, in particular about the final adoption of the law amending the organization of the ordinary courts,” a spokesman said on Friday. The EU executive had previously asked Warsaw not to proceed with the legislation in the form that was eventually approved, he noted.

The Commission “will not hesitate to take the appropriate measures as necessary,” the spokesman said, referring to possible further legal cases by the EU against its biggest ex-communist member state, Reuters reported.

The Polish parliament, dominated by the Euroskeptic PiS party, which has long been at odds with the EU over the rule of law, had passed a bill that would allow judges who criticize the government’s reforms to be disciplined, including through dismissal. The Commission has now asked the bloc’s top court to suspend the new law.

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