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On 26 June 2018, Ministers for European Affairs of EU Member States met and formally held a hearing under Article 7 (1) Treaty on European Union (TEU) to discuss ongoing rule of law issues in Poland.
This marked the first Council meeting in which ministers from across Member States were “offered a possibility to have an in-depth exchange with Poland” on issues raised by the European Commission when it triggered Article 7 on 20 December 2017. Despite this formal hearing, controversial amendments to Poland’s Supreme Court came into effect on 3 July 2018, which reduced the retirement age of Supreme Court Justices from 70 to 65 years old. Despite a number of other developments, including a noteworthy intervention by Ireland’s High Court, the Article 7 process continues to progress at an unhurried pace leading some analysts to call for the matter to be handed over to the courts. This briefing will assess the key developments that have occurred since that dramatic escalation of December 2017 and the possible outcomes of the proceedings.