European Union member states have the right to shape their judiciaries according to their own traditions, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the European Parliament on Wednesday, refuting the bloc's criticism of its court reforms.
He went on calling for making the European Union more democratic.
"The European project needs to be more democratic in order to reach further progress," Morawiecki said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
He pointed out that the growing Euroscepticism was a sign that existing mistakes needed to be corrected.
The prime minister's statement comes two days after the EU launched a legal action against Poland over its Supreme Court legislation. Polish reforms have lowered the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, thus forcing 27 out of 72 judges to retire. According to the bloc, the changes will undermine judicial independence in Poland and thus run counter to EU law.
The EU has launched an infringement procedure, and Poland has a month to respond to the announcement or the dispute will be settled in the the European Court of Justice.
In December 2017, the European Commission triggered Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty over "systemic threats" to the rule of law posed by Poland's controversial judiciary legislation. Eventually, this procedure is paving the way for sanctions against Poland and suspending some of its rights as an EU member.