Poland appeared to dismiss on Monday demands that it implement judiciary reforms deemed essential by the European Commission to uphold the rule of law, raising the danger Warsaw could be stripped of its voting right in the 28-member bloc.
The Commission had given Warsaw two months from December to implement measures to protect the powers of the Constitutional Court, after a series of new appointments and reforms appeared to weaken its independence, Reuters reports.
The unprecedented monitoring procedure that the Commission launched against Poland more than a year ago could end in Warsaw losing its voting right in the 28-nation European Union if all other EU leaders agree to that.
Tensions between Warsaw and Brussels have grown steadily since the eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party swept to power in late 2015 and moved to change the way rulings are made at the top court and to exert more control over state prosecutors.
The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that it had submitted a response to the Commission’s concerns. In a statement on its website, however, it said the changes Poland had implemented had been in line with European standards and had created “the right conditions for a normal functioning” of the Constitutional Court.
“Once again, Poland stressed that the existing political dispute around the principles of functioning of the Constitutional Court cannot be the basis for formulating the claim that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law,” the ministry said in its statement.
It also accused Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans of “stigmatizing” Warsaw. Timmermans had urged other EU members to support Brussels in its dispute with Poland.
“It is clear that the Commission cannot do it alone,” Timmermans told Reuters in an interview on Saturday. “The member states and the Commission have to stick together. Everybody has to take their responsibility.”
“(Timmermans’s call) on other member states to create a common front with the European Commission against Poland are a glaring example of violation of these rules,” the ministry said.
Warsaw said that a dialogue between the Commission and a member country should be based on rules of respect for sovereignty, objectivity and national identity.
“We urge the Vice-President of the European Commission to stop such actions,” the ministry said.
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