Political tensions stoked by the European Union’s migration crisis have flared in Poland, causing what has been one of the most influential members in the bloc’s east to take a more confrontational stance with Brussels.
Polish opposition to EU plans to spread the burden of taking in migrants across the bloc helped the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice party clinch an overwhelming victory in late October, ending eight years of rule by the centrist, pro-EU Civic Platform, which had earlier agreed to accept several thousand refugees.
Law and Justice has since moved quickly to consolidate control of government offices, state-owned companies and the country’s highest court, including replacing some judges—prompting loud protests from opposition politicians and criticism from abroad. Last week, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, sent a letter to Warsaw asking that the court changes be suspended pending a review of whether they undermine the rule of law.
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who was among the letter’s recipients, rejected the request in the Senate, just before it approved the draft changes early Thursday after an all-night session.