Poland: EU launches probe into new controversial laws
Jan 13, Stockholm: The European Commission has opened an unprecedented inquiry into whether new controversial Polish laws break EU democracy rules, media reports said.
Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced a "preliminary assessment" under the EU's "rule of law mechanism". Critics of Poland's right-wing government protested at changes to the Constitutional Court and media laws, BBC news reports said.
The EU mechanism allows the Commission to press a member state to change any measure considered a "systemic threat" to fundamental EU values.
The step comes after President Andrzej Duda approved controversial laws enabling the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government to appoint the heads of public TV and radio, and choose judges for Poland's constitutional court.
Addressing the Polish parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo denied that her government had violated democratic norms.
She said that the government has played down the significance of the European Commission's decision, saying it was "standard procedure".