Polish President Andrzej Duda signed judicial reform legislation [materials, in Polish; materials, in Polish] Wednesday, placing control over the courts into the hands of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party.
The move came hours after the European Commission [official website] triggered [press release] Article 7 [text] of the Treaty on European Union against Poland over violations of the rule of law.
The unprecedented move serves as a warning to the Polish government and could lead to sanctions and suspension of EU voting rights.
According to the EU, “Judicial reforms in Poland mean that the country’s judiciary is now under the political control of the ruling majority. In the absence of judicial independence, serious questions are raised about the effective application of EU law.”
Duda rejected these claims in a speech Wednesday, stating that the new laws will make the courts more efficient and effective.