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Poland to be referred to EU's top court 'to protect independence of Polish Supreme Court'

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Poland to be referred to EU's top court 'to protect independence of Polish Supreme Court'

Poland to be referred to EU's top court 'to protect independence of Polish Supreme Court'
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Reuters (File)
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The European Commission announced on Monday it is taking Poland to the European Union's highest court over the Polish government's changes to a law on the Supreme Court, which the Commission says infringes the independence of the judiciary.

"The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU due to the violations of the principle of judicial independence created by the new Polish Law on the Supreme Court, and to ask the Court of Justice to order interim measures until it has issued a judgment on the case," the Commission said in a statement.

Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told a news briefing that the EU executive had asked to suspend early retirement for the judges of Poland’s Supreme Court as well as the appointment of new judges in their place.

What happened?

The EU Commission launched infringement proceedings in December 2017 against Poland over concerns that the reforms impacted the independence of the judiciary.

Warsaw said that its reforms improve efficiency and accountability - by removing judges who prospered under the communist regime more than 30 years ago.

The European Commission has also proposed appealing Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, preparing sanctions against the country and suspending some of its rights as a member of the bloc.

This summer, thousands of protesters rallied in Warsaw after Poland's president granted the nationalist government more power over court appointments.

Reuters
Many Poles accused the government of politicising the judiciary, weakening its independenceReuters