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Judicial reforms may force Poland out of the European Union

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Judicial reforms may force Poland out of the European Union

Radek Pietruszka / EPA

Poland's Supreme Court warned on Tuesday that the country may have to leave the European Union because of government proposals for judicial reform.

Concerned are, according to the weekly Express, ruling party proposals – Law and Justice (PiS) – that judges can be fired if they question judicial reforms and fined or fired if they question the legitimacy of judges appointed by the National Judiciary Council. PiS claims that changes are needed to combat corruption and reform the judicial system, which PiS claims is still haunted by the communist era.

The Supreme Court has warned that the party is undermining the principle of Community law over national law and that reform proposals could be interpreted as an attempt to gag the judiciary. "Contradictions between Polish law and Community law are likely to lead to an intervention by the European institutions regarding breach of treaties and, in the long run, (will lead to) the need to leave the EU," the Supreme Court said in a statement quoted by the weekly. .

According to the Supreme Court, the bill was "evidently" planned to allow Polish President Andrzej Duda to choose a new chief of court before the presidential elections scheduled for May next year.

The current Supreme President Małgorzata Gersdorf compared the ruling party's proposals to the times of martial law in communist Poland. "I therefore ask that hatred of judges and courts no longer be used as a weapon in the struggle for power, especially since repression, as in 1981, would be a sad expression of powerlessness and not a manifestation of force," he wrote in a published statement. on the Supreme website.

The EU has also accused the party of politicizing the judiciary since coming to power in 2015. The country has already been referred to by the EU Court of Justice because of the rules applied to judges.

In April, the Polish opposition party coalition also warned of the risk of a PiS exit from Poland from the European Union. The opposition has said that the successive “arms” of the government with the EU could lead to a “Polexit”, referring to the name given to the UK's exit from the EU: Brexit.

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