19:59 GMT +321 November 2018
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    Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo holds a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 10, 2017.

    Poland Threatens Legal Retaliation Against Brussels in Latest Standoff With EU

    © REUTERS / Yves Herman
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    Polish Europe Minister Konrad Szymanski said EU plans to disperse 160,000 migrants around Europe are "not implementable" and has threatened to take the EU to court if it tries to impose sanctions against Poland for refusing to take any.

    Relations between Poland and the EU have been deteriorating over recent months, with the migrant crisis being a long-running cause of dispute, because Poland is refusing to go along with a Brussels plan to relocate — originally — 160,000 refugees across all member states by mandatory quota.

    The European Commission has threatened Poland with sanctions if it does not begin taking in its share of the refugees and has given it a deadline of June to begin. However, Szymanski told reporters that was prepared for it and would go to court to defend itself.

    "We're prepared to do it. We understand this decision has a legal value, and it is valid," he told reporters.

    The Commission agreed, September 2015, to relocate 160,000 migrants from Greece and Italy to other EU member states, according to a quota system, based on population and GDP, among other measures. Although the figure was revised downwards, to 98,255, only 19,486 have so far been relocated (May 23) under the scheme. However, there seems to be a softening of the line.

    ​Rule of Law

    Poland is already in a standoff with Brussels over controversial changes to its constitutional court, which EU officials and politicians say is against the principle of the rule of law, laid out in the principles of the EU.

    The dispute arose from changes made by the Polish government to the country's Constitutional Tribunal, December 2015, adding five 'politically friendly' judges to the country's Constitutional Tribunal, in a move seen by critics as making it easier to push through legislation with less opposition.

    Another amendment meant that the tribunal would need a two-thirds majority to take a decision on constitutional matters instead of a simple majority. The minimum number of judges needed to make a decision was also raised from nine to 13, making it more difficult to convene a quorum.

    In December, 2016, the commission officially warned Warsaw that it would remove its voting rights in the EU, if the Polish government did not roll back the controversial changes to its Constitutional Court, for being in breach of the EU's Rule of Law, which demands the separation of government and the judiciary.


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    constitutional court, refugees, relocation, migrant crisis, rule of law, European Commission, Europe, Poland
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