EU set to hear Poland’s defence on judiciary reform

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Poland was set to defend its controversial judiciary reform to fellow European Union member states at a hearing on Tuesday, as an unprecedented warning process regarding rule of law concerns continues.

Brussels and Warsaw have been at loggerheads for over two years, ever since Poland’s national-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power and began series of reforms, including a judicial overhaul that critics say involves undue political influence.

In December, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, triggered a formal warning process, using a mechanism under Article 7 of the EU treaty for the first time in the bloc’s history that could ultimately lead to stripping Poland of voting rights.

Meanwhile, Hungary has vowed to veto any such move.

Report says it is now up to EU member states to take the process further.

The bloc’s European affairs ministers said that they were looking forward to hearing from their Polish counterpart about the issue.

“We want to hear once again whether there is finally willingness to follow words with concrete action.

“Above all, we need substantial progress on the independence of the Polish judiciary,’’ Michael Roth, Germany’s European affairs minister, said.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said EU countries were looking to ask questions that were based on legitimate concerns about the situation in Poland.

NAN