Poland faces huge daily fines from the European Court of Justice, after Brussels began legal action against Warsaw for changes to the Polish Supreme Court which "undermine the principle of judicial independence".
A new law regulating Poland's Supreme Court that would lead to the forced early retirement of almost 40 percent of its justices is to take effect on Tuesday.
On the eve of the changes, Supreme Court spokesman, judge Michal Laskowski, said it was not yet clear if the president would use his power to immediately force the retirement of the judges, including the court president Malgorzata Gersdorf. After medical examinations, the president may agree to extend their posting.
The law is the culmination of the ruling populist Law and Justice Party's efforts to put Poland's entire court system until its control, a plan it began almost three years ago.
No decision was made on the Article 7 proceedings.
The Commission said it was concerned over the "lack of criteria" due to which the procedure will be undertaken and points to the fact that the new legislation might affect every third judge.
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Since "there was no step from the Polish side to reverse them, we made the decision to launch the infringement procedure as a matter of urgency to defend the independence of the Polish judiciary", European Union spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.
"As a member of the European Union, the European tribunal is also our court, especially at a time when PiS is threatening our system, so the European tribunal is the only independent institution left that may assess the Supreme Court laws in an honest way", said Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, a member of parliament for the opposition Modern party.
The EU Commission insisted it "stands ready to continue the rule-of-law dialogue" despite starting the legal procedure.
The Polish government will have one month to reply to the notice, it said.
The Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki previously ruled out the possibility of any change in law subsequent adjustments of judicial reform. He presented the Polish position at the General Affairs Council last week in Luxembourg, which ended without any declaration. The EU remains unconvinced by Poland's recent efforts, with everyone waiting to see if and how a crucial judicial reform will go ahead on 3 July. The matter could then wind up in the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court.