The European Union is concerned about reforms introduced by Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which include limiting the judicial freedom of the Constitutional Tribunal, alongside extending control over state media and banning abortions. In January, the European Commission opened an inquiry into the changes, and regularly assessed progress in its dialogue with Poland on the issue.
"Our discussions were very constructive and fruitful but as yet these discussions have not led to a situation where I believe we come close to a solution for these outstanding issues. That is why I think it is useful to concentrate debate on these outstanding issues and that is what we do by sending our opinion to the Polish authorities," Timmermans told journalists.
On December 28, 2015, Polish President Andrzej Duda introduced a new regulation on the Constitutional Tribunal which sparked much criticism from the opposition. The reform deprived the Constitutional Tribunal of control over judges and replaced a simple majority with a two-thirds majority necessary to take a decision on constitutional matters.