EU urges Poland to suspend court reforms

The European Union called on Poland's right-wing government to suspend controversial reforms to the country's courts, expressing "grave concern" that they could undermine judicial freedom.

Published: 19th July 2017 04:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2017 04:51 PM   |  A+A-

Representational image. (Photo | AP Images/ European Union-EP)

By AFP

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Wednesday called on Poland's right-wing government to suspend controversial reforms to the country's courts, expressing "grave concern" that they could undermine judicial freedom.

During a special high-level meeting on the issue in Brussels, European Commissioners had also discussed the unprecedented option of suspending Poland's voting rights in the 28-nation bloc, a statement said.

The Polish government has faced growing protests in recent days after moving last week to overhaul the entire judicial system, a move that has also triggered the latest in a series of clashes with Brussels.

"Recent measures taken by the Polish authorities on the judicial system greatly amplify the threat to the rule of law in Poland," European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said.

A European Commission statement said it "expresses grave concern about the clear risks for the independence of the judiciary in Poland."

"The commission urges the Polish authorities to put the new laws on hold and re-engage in the ongoing rule of law dialogue with First Vice-President Timmermans in an attempt to address the serious concerns expressed," the statement added.

"If implemented in their current form, these laws would have a very significant negative impact on the independence of the judiciary and would increase the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland."

After launching reforms of the constitutional court following its election victory in late 2015, the Polish government stepped up its bid to reform the court system.

The Polish parliament suspended debate overnight on a law that would give the justice minister influence over the supreme court after the leader of the governing party unleashed a diatribe against the opposition.

Both houses of parliament last week adopted separate legislation that would give the minister of justice the power to name the chief justices of the EU member's common courts.

In addition, parliament would choose members of the National Council of the Judiciary, whose role is to protect the independence of courts.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp