In EU-Poland Spat, Risks to Bloc’s Unity Loom

Peace and Freedom

Warsaw’s efforts to overhaul judiciary spark concern in EU Commission about rule of law

People gathered for an antigovernment vigil in Krakow, Poland, on Wednesday.
People gathered for an antigovernment vigil in Krakow, Poland, on Wednesday. PHOTO: ARTUR WIDAK/NURPHOTO/ZUMA PRESS

The current standoff between the Polish government and the EU Commission over the rule of law risks becoming a new threat to EU cohesion. The dispute goes beyond disagreements over policy to the nature of the European project itself.

The Commission insists that the EU is above all a “community of law”: the rights that membership confers on its citizens hinge on EU law being enforced in all member states via domestic courts.

This makes the independence and impartiality of national judges a legitimate EU concern. And the Commission believes that recent attempts by the Polish government to overhaul the judiciary—including giving the minister of justice…

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