The European Commission has issued a formal objection to controversial judicial reforms in Poland, ratcheting up pressure after months of consultations have delivered no breakthrough.
The commission has decided to submit a written declaration outlining its opposition to the reforms, the EU executive body's Vice President Frans Timmermans said in Brussels.
The row between Warsaw and the EU revolves around changes to the 15-judge Constitutional Tribunal, including a new two-thirds majority for verdicts to take effect and a rule that requires the court to take cases in the order in which they were filed.
The step was taken as part of an unprecedented mechanism which could - as a last resort - lead to Poland's suspension of voting rights in the bloc.
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