SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Warning - Fire Weather Watch - Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Poland faces EU punishment over controversial judicial reforms

The European Union has triggered an unprecedented disciplinary process against Poland for a "serious breach" of its v...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 1:30 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 1:30 PM

The European Union has triggered an unprecedented disciplinary process against Poland for a "serious breach" of its values, in a dispute over judicial reforms that could lead to Warsaw being stripped of its EU voting rights.

The European Commission, the EU's principal administrative body, warned of a "clear risk of a serious breach in the rule of law" posed by legal reforms introduced by Poland's rightwing government.

It recommended that EU leaders invoke Article 7, a process that could eventually lead to Poland's voting rights being suspended.

The dispute involves a series of measures introduced in recent years by Poland's ruling Law and Justice party. They EU believes they have paved the way for political interference in the legal system and put the independence of the Polish judiciary at risk.

Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, said that 13 laws adopted by Poland in the past two years had created an environment in which the Polish government "can systematically politically interfere with the composition, powers, the administration and the functioning" of the judiciary.

The commission also said it had referred Poland to the European Court of Justice over "breaches of EU law."

Poland has been given three months to address the EU's concerns.

In a statement published Wednesday, the Commission urged Poland to change laws that lowered of the retirement age for judges and gave the President the power to prolong a mandate of Supreme Court justices.

It also wants the Polish government to remove an extraordinary appeal procedure, which includes the ability to reopen final judgments taken years earlier, and to restore the independence and legitimacy of the Constitutional Tribunal.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck hit back by saying that reform of the judiciary was a matter for his state, not the EU.

"Poland is as devoted to the rule of law as the rest of the EU. Current judiciary reform is deeply needed," he tweeted.

He added: "The dialogue between the commission and Warsaw needs to be both open and honest. I believe that Poland's sovereignty and the idea of United Europe can be reconciled."

The EU and Poland have been clashing for the past two years over changes to the country's judicial system that have broadened the government's power over the Supreme Court and national council of the judiciary, which appoints judges.

The new laws, introduced by the Law and Justice Party, have been widely criticized by the commission, which has the taken unprecedented action by invoking Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which says that the European Parliament may make recommendations to a country where there is a "clear risk of a serious breach" to the values of the European Union.

The most serious punishment that could be inflicted would be the removal of Poland's voting rights in EU institutions, but that would require a unanimous vote to be passed and Hungary has already said it would reject the proposal.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 217690

Reported Deaths: 2849
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41633618
Washington27703258
Marion24391330
Clackamas19818241
Lane14732174
Jackson12414153
Deschutes1049387
Umatilla939694
Linn620281
Yamhill504281
Klamath492479
Douglas440787
Polk426957
Josephine410075
Malheur365967
Benton343622
Jefferson248942
Coos228439
Columbia207632
Union164924
Lincoln153122
Wasco151931
Crook138524
Hood River125534
Morrow121717
Clatsop114510
Baker108217
Curry76812
Tillamook7415
Grant5597
Lake4878
Harney45511
Wallowa2256
Gilliam851
Sherman812
Wheeler381
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3935590

Reported Deaths: 64341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles129039524658
Riverside3068364659
San Bernardino3058275236
San Diego2941763798
Orange2812285143
Santa Clara1228212099
Sacramento1146521775
Kern1129331420
Fresno1042881746
Alameda955391280
Ventura835231043
San Joaquin769151460
Contra Costa75842830
Stanislaus655371088
Tulare50324854
Monterey44438526
San Mateo44378588
San Francisco39939563
Solano35703261
Santa Barbara35546467
Merced32961484
Sonoma32526329
Imperial29048745
Placer24955307
Kings23566250
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera16998249
Santa Cruz16532207
Marin14791239
Yolo14759215
Butte13176205
Shasta12925242
El Dorado11010120
Napa1040084
Sutter10126115
Yuba694951
San Benito626363
Lassen587626
Tehama583666
Nevada532475
Humboldt501053
Mendocino465851
Tuolumne446173
Lake415765
Amador386148
Siskiyou255440
Glenn246027
Colusa235718
Calaveras229558
Del Norte16128
Inyo145338
Mono13195
Plumas7656
Modoc5737
Mariposa4977
Trinity4596
Sierra1260
Alpine890
Unassigned530
Medford
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
Brookings
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 82°
Medford
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 106° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 79°
Building heat and thunderstorms late week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events