LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
By Jacob Bojesson
The European Commission warned Poland Wednesday that it could impose unprecedented sanctions if the country moves forward with plans to reform its judicial system.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has been given one week to halt reforms that would give the government greater control over the country’s courts. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU executive is “getting very close” to triggering Article 7 of the EU’s treaties.
The sanction has never been imposed before and would strip Poland of its voting rights at EU summits.
“Recent measures taken by the Polish authorities on the judicial system greatly amplify the threat to the rule of law in Poland,” Timmermans told reporters after a meeting with EU commissioners. “If implemented in their current form, these laws 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.”
Krzysztof Szczerski, President Andrzej Duda’s chief of staff, said he was “surprised” by EU’s threats since the reforms are “being done in accordance with the law,” Radio Poland reports.
Poland is one of three countries to face legal action from the EU over their refusal to abide by a migrant relocation quotas.
The Times reported in April that Germany, France and up to 21 other countries are prepared to demand Hungary and Poland accept the quotas if they want to stay in the EU.
“They will have to make a choice: are they in the European system or not?” an unnamed senior diplomatic source told The Times. “You cannot blackmail the EU, unity has a price.”