14:26 GMT +320 October 2018
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    People hold European Union and Polish flags during the annual EU parade in Warsaw, Poland May 6, 2017

    EU Can Toss Poland Out for Non-Compliance With Judicial Standards

    © REUTERS / Agencja Gazeta/Dawid Zuchowicz
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) may suspend Poland's membership in the organization because of the country's failure to conform with the EU's requirements for judicial reforms, the ENCJ said.

    In December 2017, the European Commission expressed its concern over the rule of law in Poland after a total of 13 controversial pieces of legislation seriously affecting the judicial system were adopted. The European Union has argued that Warsaw is allowing the executive and legislative branches to intervene in the judicial branch's affairs, thereby undermining judicial independence in Poland.

    READ MORE: Polish President Vetoes Law Amending Country's Election Rules to EU Parliament

    "On 16th August 2018, the ENCJ Board informed the Polish KRS [National Court Register] that it would convene an Extraordinary General Assembly on 17 September 2018 in Bucharest, to decide on the position of the KRS in the ENCJ. The Board has proposed to the Members of the ENCJ to suspend the membership of the KRS as it no longer meets the requirements of ENCJ that it is independent of the Executive and Legislature so as to ensure the Independence of the Polish Judiciary," ENCJ said Thursday in a statement published on its official website.

    In 2017, the Polish parliament passed yet another controversial law, lowering the retirement age for the country's Supreme Court justices from 70 to 65 years, forcing 27 out of 72 judges, including the court's first president, to retire prematurely.

    READ MORE: EU Steps Up Legal Action Against Poland Over Supreme Court Reform

    The European Union has slammed the reform as distorting Polish courts' independence and violating the principle of irremovability of judges, as although the law allows the judges to ask for their terms' extension, there are no criteria defined for this decision. On Tuesday, the EU Commission warned Poland that the country's authorities had one month to take measures against the law, otherwise the commission may take the case to the EU Court of Justice.

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