World Bulletin / News Desk
Poland's entry into the European Union in 2004 was a dream come true just 15 years after it shed communism, but today its rightwing government is posing an unprecedented challenge to the authority of Brussels in enforcing democratic standards, including the rule of law.
But tensions came to a head this week as the EU launched unprecedented disciplinary proceedings over Warsaw's judicial reforms, which Brussels insists threaten democracy by putting the courts under government control.
Warsaw insists the reforms are necessary to root out the last vestiges of communism from the justice system.
But Brussels contends that 13 laws adopted by Poland in the space of two years have created a situation where the government "can systematically politically interfere with the composition, powers, the administration and the functioning" of judicial authorities.
The EU's censure could ultimately lead to Poland losing its voting rights in the bloc.
Poland dismissed the EU's decision as being "political" while its president, Andrzej Duda, defiantly signed into law two hotly contested judicial reforms just hours after the censure process was launched.
He also accused Brussels of lies and hypocrisy for pushing ahead with the disciplinary action.
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