EU, Germany criticize Poland in worsening rule of law spat

The European Union and Germany have both criticized the Polish government for threatening the rule of law in its country, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying it could undermine cooperation in the 28-nation bloc.

Merkel said the worsening dispute between Warsaw and Brussels over changes in Poland's judicial system touches on "the basis of cooperation inside the European Union."

Critics say the changes erode democratic standards in Poland.

In some of her most pointed comments on neighboring Poland, Merkel said that "however much I want to have very good relations with Poland ... we cannot simply hold our mouths and say nothing for the sake of peace."

Also Tuesday, the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, dismissed Polish government comments it had no right to meddle in its legislative process.