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article imageWalesa urges EU to take Poland to court over judicial reforms

By AFP     Jun 1, 2018 in Politics

Polish freedom icon Lech Walesa called Friday for the European Union to take Poland to court over controversial judicial reforms Brussels sees as a threat to democracy and the rule of law.

"I urge the European Commission to take the matter of the (Polish) Supreme Court law to the Court of Justice of the European Union," the former president and Nobel peace laureate wrote in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

The 74-year-old is very critical of the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party which, among other changes, plans to take powers to be able to dismiss judges on the Supreme Court before their terms are up.

The measure, adopted in December and due to come into force next month, is part of a package of PiS changes critics say erode democratic standards and the rule of law.

"This violation of the independence of Polish courts threatens to have negative consequences not only for Poland but also for the other EU members," wrote Walesa, who led the Solidarity movement that brought a peaceful end to communism in Poland.

The Polish government says the changes are needed to combat corruption and overhaul a judicial system marked by the communist era.

Brussels in December triggered a process that could lead to Warsaw losing its EU voting rights if it pursues reforms deemed to pose a "systemic threat" to the rule of law.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss the issue again on June 26 just ahead of an EU leaders summit.

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