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The Latest: Polish premier calls EU actions 'scandalous'

Leader of Poland's ruling party Law and Justice, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, right, kisses the hand of Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo during a press conference summarizing two years of the party's government, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. The videowall behind reads: Good 2 Years. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
November 15, 2017 - 7:31 AM

WARSAW, Poland - The Latest on the EU's action against Poland (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Poland's government is hitting back after the European Parliament launched action over concerns that the right-wing government in Warsaw has compromised the independence of the judiciary and risks breaching fundamental European values.

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo described the events Wednesday in the European Parliament — where a bitter debate preceded the vote — as "scandalous."

The Foreign Ministry called the resolution passed by the assembly a "political instrument of pressure on Poland," describing the document as "one-sided" and saying it was based on political considerations and not on legal analysis.

In a resolution adopted by 438 to 152, with 71 abstentions, European lawmakers triggered the first stage of a so-called rule-of-law procedure against the Polish government on Wednesday. The procedure could lead to the suspensions of Poland's EU voting rights.

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3:05 p.m.

European Union lawmakers have launched action against Poland over concerns that the government has compromised the independence of the judiciary and risks breaching fundamental European values.

In a resolution adopted Wednesday by 438 to 152, with 71 abstentions, the lawmakers triggered the first stage of a so-called rule of law procedure against the Polish government.

The procedure could lead to the suspensions of Poland's EU voting rights.

The assembly's Civil Liberties Committee must now draw up a legal proposal to formally request that the mechanism — known as Article 7 — be activated due to a "clear risk of a serious breach" of EU values.

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1:45 p.m.

A member of Poland's ruling party has lashed out during a heated debate in the European Parliament, accusing the EU of waging an illegal "crusade against Poland." Ryszard Legutko also targeted the German media, accusing them of holding an "anti-Polish orgy."

In turn, others sharply criticized Poland's direction under its right-wing ruling party, with the parliament's liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt saying the Polish government "has lost its senses." Gianni Pittella, leader of an alliance of Socialists and Democrats, accused Warsaw of showing "scorn for liberal democracy."

The debate in Strasbourg on Wednesday comes amid a standoff between the Polish government and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm.

The Commission says new laws in Poland undermine judicial independence and the rule of law. Poland insists the EU has no right to interfere.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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