The European Parliament voted on March 1 to activate Article 7 against Poland, the first time the preventative measure has been taken since the provision was created in 1997, opening the door for sanctions to be imposed on Warsaw for breaking key tenets of the European Union’s laws.

Since 2015, the Commission has been concerned about the independence of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal and courts because of several changes in national legislation. The Commission has since issued four recommendations but has not been satisfied with Poland’s response.

Brussels believes there has been a breach in the rule-of-law in Poland since the nationalist Law and Justice party of Jarosław Kaczyński came to power in three years ago.

Poland could be stripped of its voting rights on the European Council if MEPs.