Could Poland Leave EU over Judicial Reform?
Armed with European flags in hand, thousands of protesters have marched across Poland this week in opposition of a law that could allow the government the power to fire and control the judiciary if it disagrees with its court reforms.
On Friday, Poland's parliament defied Brussels by voting in favor of the controversial bill even after European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova asked authorities to hold off the vote and consult with external legal experts beforehand.
Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has promised to continue reforming the country's justice system since its re-election in October—but its ideas for a judicial overhaul have caused it to clash repeatedly with Brussels.
And Poland's Supreme Court warned this week the eastern European country could be forced to leave the bloc if the proposals were voted through.
"Contradictions between Polish law and EU law… will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by the EU institutions regarding an infringement of the EU treaties, and in the longer perspective (will lead to) the need to leave the European Union," Poland's Supreme Court said in a statement on December 17.
Parliament slightly tweaked the proposals to remove a policy that would have required judges to give the names of social media accounts they use under a pseudonym.
But another controversial part of the bill was passed, which could see judges lose their jobs or face pay cuts if they question the competence of their peers appointed by a newly created court, whose impartiality has been called into question by the European Court of Justice.
Leaving the EU 'step by step'
The PiS, which has been in power since 2015, argues the changes are needed to tackle...