EU threatens sanctions if Poland doesn’t reverse high court overhaul

The EU has formally warned Warsaw that if it doesn’t reverse its overhaul of the country’s highest court it will incur sanctions, possibly suspending voting rights. Few expect a quick resolution.

Wednesday’s unprecedented warning issued by the European Commission is part of a long procedure that could see Warsaw having its voting rights suspended in the European Council of Ministers, the EU’s highest decision-making body.

The 28 commissioners agreed during the body’s weekly meeting on Wednesday morning to send an “opinion” to Warsaw that gives Poland two weeks to respond to the warning, and the commissioners said they will recommend Warsaw solve the problems identified within a fixed time limit.

“We have decided to send a rule-of-law opinion to the Polish authorities,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said in Brussels.

The Commission said the Polish government must remove what it called a “systemic threat” to the rule of law.

“Despite our best efforts we have not been able to find a solution to the main issues that concern us,” Timmermans said following five months of talks with the Polish government.

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(Photo: Lukas Plewnia)