The EU is to investigate Poland’s new media laws, which have been branded as a clampdown on the freedom of the press.
The country’s new conservative government, led by the Law and Justice Party, passed legislation two weeks ago that gave ministers full control over state media.
The European Commission is seeking urgent talks with Warsaw.
“We have specific questions about the functioning of the constitutional court and other laws made by the Polish government, which could have an effect on the rule of law,” said Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first-vice president. “We are asking for explanation from the Polish government, but in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue. that is our duty!’
The country’s prime minister has hit back.
Beata Szydlo addressed parliament on Wednesday, denying that her government had undermined Poland’s democracy with the move.
But the legislation allows ministers to sack top level editorial management and appoint their replacements.
The Commission is also investigating recent changes to the Polish constitutional court.
Decision now require a two-third majority, not a simple majority.
Critics say it removes important checks on the government’s powers.