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    Reporters Without Borders Oppose EU Decision to Postpone Anti-Polish Sanctions

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    The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) human rights group criticized the European Commission's decision to further delay triggering the European Union's sanctions mechanism against Poland.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that Poland had 30 days to address the Commission's concerns over Warsaw's controversial judicial reforms. Timmermans also threatened to invoke Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, under which the European Union would be able to suspend Poland's European Union voting rights.

    "@EU_Commission postpones once again the use of Article 7 although its recommendations have no effect. RSF disappointed! #Poland," the RSF wrote on its Twitter page.

    ​The group pointed out that such a decision would not prevent the Polish government's attacks on independent media and journalists.

    "EU_Commission decisions will not stop the Polish government’s attacks on independent media and #journalists," the RSF said.

    In January 2016, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a law giving his conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party-run government the power to appoint heads of public television and radio, as well as civil services. The legislation drew widespread opposition from EU leaders and media freedom advocates and caused nation-wide protests.

    A new wave of protests and EU criticism was triggered by the planned judicial reform in Poland proposed by the Polish authorities earlier in July. One such bill outlined a change to the system of appointing Supreme Court justices, which would allow for the dismissal of all current judges not appointed by the justice minister himself. The bill was approved by the Senate on Saturday.

    On July 15, the Polish Senate adopted two other controversial bills on judicial reform, both of which were introduced by the PiS. The first outlines amendments to the law on the National Council of Judiciary, under which members of the Council will be appointed by the Parliament. The second draft bill will expand the powers of the justice minister, enabling the official to appoint or dismiss chief judges of ordinary courts.

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    sanctions, Reporters Without Borders, European Commission, EU, Frans Timmermans, Poland
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