The Eu's Executive Decides To End Legal Standoff With Poland Over Democracy Concerns

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's executive decided on Monday to end its 6-year dispute with member state Poland, saying Prime Minister Donald Tusk has initiated the necessary changes to reverse what the bloc called the previous government’s backsliding on democratic principles.

The EU's decision to withdraw its case over rule of law complaints follows one in February to start releasing billions of euros that it had frozen in the dispute.

“Today, marks a new chapter for Poland," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, calling the breakthrough the result of the country's determined reform efforts. "The ongoing restoration of the rule of law in Poland is great for the Polish people and for our union as a whole.”

The EU and Poland had been at odds after the stridently nationalist Law and Justice party came to power in 2015 and implemented reforms that critics said placed Poland’s judiciary under political control. The EU threatened to suspend Poland’s EU voting rights and blocked its access to EU funds.

Tusk has worked hard since taking office in December to overturn the measures.

Monday's decision still needs to be put to the 27 EU member states. It is unlikely to face fundamental objections.

Poland’s pro-European coalition of three center-left parties led by Tusk won parliamentary elections on Oct. 15, succeeding the Law and Justice party that also had introduced changes to reproductive rights and the media that put Poland increasingly on a collision course with the EU.