Government - EU Warns Poland
The European Union is giving Poland a month to do away with proposed judicial reforms that the ultra-conservative government claim will streamline the legal system, but the EU views as a blatant attack on democracy itself.
The European Commission monitors compliance with the law in the 28-member bloc. It has given Warsaw one month to address the judicial changes which it believes violate the rule of law. If Poland doesn't address the recommendations, the Commission could take the case to the EU Court of Justice, which could impose fines.
Poland and Europe have been at odds over the the changes for a year. The nationalist-conservative ruling "Law and Justice" party (PiS) has sought to consolidate its power over all parts of Polish life and government, and has already changed much of the media into a mouthpiece for the PiS party. If the supposed "reforms" go through, the government will have given itself the power to remove Supreme Court justices at will - removing the last check preventing the country from regressing into totalitarian government. Critics fear a total takeover of the judiciary would leave the party able to use the courts to settle scores with political opponents and even to falsify election results.
There has been widespread protest in Poland over the proposed changes. The latest demonstration took place in front of parliament in Warsaw on Tuesday.
Poland's government has falsely labeled the EU's objections as "blackmail" and condemned "unjustified criticism".