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Poland's judicial independence will be destroyed unless EU moves faster, says MEP

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By Euronews with AP
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People holding a Poland and EU flags take part in a protest in Warsaw over much-criticised legislation that allows politicians to fire judges who criticize their decisions
People holding a Poland and EU flags take part in a protest in Warsaw over much-criticised legislation that allows politicians to fire judges who criticize their decisions   -   Copyright  Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Brussels needs to speed up its crackdown on Poland to avoid judicial independence being destroyed in the country, an MEP has told Euronews.

It comes as the EU's top court ruled Warsaw's new regulations for appointing judges to the Supreme Court could violate the bloc's law.

The regulations, introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, "are liable to infringe EU law", said the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ruling obliges Poland’s right-wing government to discontinue these regulations and observe the principles of judicial independence and the right to judicial protection.

"The ruling confirms basically what we have witnessed for a couple of years and this is the complete capture of the judiciary by the ruling party," said Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld. "And basically the end of the independence of the judiciary.

"I think this ruling confirms once more that the European Commission needs to speed up its infringement procedures and court cases against Poland otherwise the whole independence of the judiciary will be destroyed."

The case relates to the 2018 changes, regulating Poland's top judicial body, the National Council of the Judiciary, and its new method of effectively allowing the government to appoint judges to Poland's Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, the European Commission gave Poland a month to halt the work of a disciplinary chamber accused of posing a threat to judicial independence after it ignored earlier complaints.

The government-appointed chamber, created in 2017 to sanction judges, is one of many controversial legal reforms introduced by PiS since it took office in 2015.