EU threatens Poland with Article 7

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The European Commission is “very close” to triggering the EU’s Article 7 procedure against Poland — a move that can lead to the suspension of a member country’s voting rights, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said, condemning the recent attempts by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) grouping to overhaul Polish judiciary.

“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,” Timmermans said.

Poland said it could take its own action to Europe’s highest court if any EU case was initiated. “If other procedures are triggered, we will defend our position, including before the Court of Justice,” Konrad Szymański, deputy foreign minister said.

The Article 7, established to ensure “that all EU countries respect the common values of the EU,” has never been used. If passed it would strip Poland of its voting rights in the EU. However to be implemented it needs to be approved by all member states unanimously, while Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has stated that he would veto any attempt to sanction Poland.

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