July 19, 2017 / 11:05 AM / in 2 years

EU urges Poland to put judicial changes on hold or face action

Law and Justice (PiS) party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski enters the parliament as his party members applause, before the second reading of a bill that calls for an overhaul of the Supreme Court, in Warsaw, Poland July 19, 2017 .Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s executive called on Poland on Wednesday to put on hold judicial reforms it said would “have a very significant negative impact” on courts’ independence, or face disciplinary action as early as next week.

The European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans also told a briefing: “These laws considerably increase the systemic threats to the rule of law.”

“Collectively, they would abolish any remaining judicial independence and put the judiciary under full political control of the government.”

He was speaking after a tumultuous session in the Polish parliament on Tuesday that saw the nationalist-minded government pushing a law giving it more direct control over the Supreme Court, whose tasks include validating elections in the EU’s largest ex-communist state.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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