WORLD

Poland's voting rights could be suspended, EU warns

POLANDS VOTING RIGHTS COULD BE SUSPENDED, EU WARNS

Poland's voting rights in the EU could be suspended after controversial judicial reforms in the country were partly approved, it emerged on Wednesday.

The bloc warned the Polish government to step back from planned changes to the judiciary, warning the EU Commission "stands ready" to take action.

EU rules state if there is "a clear risk of a serious breach" of the values of the rule of law then EU authorities may suspend voting rights of the country at the European Council.

Poland has a month to respond.

President Andrzej Duda this week approved two out of four bills which would give the government broad powers over the nomination of judges.

Last Sunday saw protests in the capital Warsaw and other major cities when thousands of people took to the streets for eight days in a row to demonstrate against the amendments put forward by Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party.

Duda later vetoed one reform which would have seen Supreme Court judges replaced by government nominees.

First Vice-President of the EU Commission, Frans Timmermans, said the reforms in Poland "increase significantly the systemic threat to [the] rule of law".

"We will watch developments vigilantly and act accordingly," he added in a statement.

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