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EU official sees new justice independence threat in Poland

September 18, 2018
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Poland's European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymansk, right, speaks with European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans during a meeting of General Affairs ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Ministers on Tuesday will debate a rule of law procedure against Poland. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — A top European Union official says Poland’s government appears to have taken new steps recently that could undermine the independence of its judiciary and shows no sign of backing down.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Tuesday that since June talks with Warsaw his “concerns and worries have increased.”

The EU’s executive body has launched a rule of law procedure against the government over what it considers to be the erosion of judicial independence. The move could strip Poland of its EU voting rights.

Timmermans said Warsaw’s reactions Tuesday to European Commission concerns “do not offer any openings in terms of compliance.”

Timmermans, who met with EU ministers in Brussels, says he’s worried that Poland might not obey Europe’s top court should it rule against the country’s justice policies.

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