European Commission to decide on sanctions over Poland's rule of law violations

A new law in Poland threatens the independence of the Supreme Court. That’s according to the European Commission, which today held a meeting to discuss its response- it could amount to the triggering Article 7 of the Lisbon treaty.

Frans Timmermans, First vice president of the Commission held a press conference after the meeting. He said: “These laws considerably increase the systematic threat of the rule of law in Poland. Each individual law, if adopted, is seriously erodes the independence of the Polish judiciary.

“Collectively they would abolish any remaining judicial independence and put the judiciary under full political control of the government. The option of triggering article 7 of the treaty is part of the discussion. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that given the latest developments we are very close to article 7”.

Article 7 allows the imposition of sanctions on a member state that commits a “fundamental rights violation”.

The Commission contemplated imposing the measure on Hungary in 2016 over its treatment of migrants, but decided otherwise.

Pierre Vimont, a political analyst for Carnegie Europe, told euronews: “It is a new, maybe a last attempt to try to convince the Polish authorities to show more flexibility on this issue and to try to find some common ground with the European Commission. I think that is the real message for the time being”.

He added that: “If you listen carefully what vice president Timmermans said in this press conference, it is really about the Commission having to decide that the process is going on”.

The controversial bill passed through the Polish lower house on Wednesday morning, despite significant protests in Warsaw on Tuesday evening.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice Party wants the government to appoint judges and supreme court justices.
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