The Polish prime minister has defended the overhaul of the judiciary to a sceptical crowd at the European Parliament.
Every EU member has the right to shape its own legal system - his message to the plenary.
It comes at a critical time, with Warsaw and Brussels locked in a standoff over the rule of law.
There was an appeal for the Polish prremier to come back to European liberal values.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader, said: "Putting judges under political control this in fact makes no part of these values...I am asking you personally, turn the wheel and bring Poland back into the family of democratic nations away of the illusion of so-called illiberal states."
But there words in support for Mateusz Morawiecki from the far-right grouping.
"You can have the rule of law, but you cannot have the rule of your own law. You can only have the rule of this place (referring Brussels institutions) law," said the EFD's Gerard Batten.
And from Morawiecki, there was his own critique of Brussels - as it looks to its future.
He said: "If the European project is to move forward therefore, its democratic legitimacy has to be reinforced. You can call that populism if you like but at the end of the day we have to answer the questions being asked by citizens."
The leader of Europe's conservative bloc countered, saying egos and nationalism will achieve nothing for the EU.
Manfred Weber, EPP group leader, said: "In the Council meetings last week we experienced that the nation states cannot find a common ground to go further. That's why I believe that the European Union that is founded by Adenaur, you referred to this, which is based on the institutions in the European level.
"This Europe works and the Europe of egoism and nationalism cannot deliver to the interests of the people across the European Union."
The European Commission's already launched Article 7 and a second infringement process was announced earlier this week. Poland has a month to respond.