00:59 GMT27 January 2021
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    Poland's opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) does not consider the warning taken by the EU so far as being 'against' Poland, according to a spokeswoman for the party.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European criticism of the rule of law in Poland is not directed at the country itself but at the breach of law and democracy by the current conservative Law and Justice government, a spokeswoman for the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) told Sputnik on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the European Commission warned Poland that the country had not sufficiently addressed its initial concerns about the Constitutional Court reform and gave Warsaw three months to guarantee the tribunal's independence.

    "We do not consider the measures taken by the EU so far as being 'against' Poland. They are against the breaking of law and against the detriment of democracy in Poland that is being done by the present Polish government," Anna-Maria Zukowska, who is also vice-president of the Mazovia Province branch of the party, said.

    The spat between Poland and the European Union started late last year when the newly elected Law and Justice government sacked five judges appointed by the previous government and installed their own appointees, deprived the Tribunal of control over judges and replaced a simple majority with a two-thirds majority necessary to take a decision on constitutional matters. These moves were contested by the judicial body and the opposition, as well as thousands of Poles who repeatedly took to the streets, and prompted the European Commission to open a multi-step procedure in January, to verify whether or not Poland is adhering to the rule of law founding principles of the European Union.

    In early July, the Polish government made some changes to its legislation on the constitutional court but the amendments still need to be signed by the country’s president to enter into force. Meanwhile, the European Commission warned that though some changes were in the right direction, its fundamental concerns remained unresolved.

    Asked whether the government of Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo would comply with the EU requirements, the SLD spokeswoman just answered "no."

    Should events continue to develop as such, Warsaw may see its voting rights suspended in the Council of Ministers, the European Union's highest decision-making body. A final decision on punishment must be supported by other EU member states with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban already vowing to veto any move against Poland.

    "Victor Orban would do better if he refrained from supporting the Polish government in its anti-democratic actions," Zukowska suggested.

    Another option being floated by some EU states is to review the bloc's budget to take some development funds away from Poland as punishment.

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    Tags:
    European Commission, European Union, Democratic Left Alliance, Poland
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