EU wants more talks with Poland on rule of law worries

The European Union called Tuesday for more talks with Poland to address persistent concerns about the rule of law in one of the bloc's biggest member countries.

The 28 European affairs ministers told EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans to increase efforts to get Warsaw in line on what many see as weakening democratic standards in Poland.

Timmermans shied away from taking punitive action, which could go as far as denying the country EU voting rights.

"Dialogue is the only really constructive way we can solve this problem," he said.

The EU is concerned about steps taken by Poland's ruling party that have weakened the Constitutional Tribunal's ability to act as a check on executive power.

"For the past 18 months, Poland has been very eager for dialogue," Poland's European Affairs secretary, Konrad Szymanski, said. "But we are not prepared to unilaterally abandon the sovereignty of Poland's parliament in its right to shape and understand Poland's constitutional order."

Amnesty International was unhappy with the lack of forceful actions against Poland.

"This does nothing to show countries who trample over the EU's founding principles that their actions will have consequences," Iverna McGowan of Amnesty International's EU office said.