EC starts infringement procedure against Poland over Russian influence probe

The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday launched infringement procedures against Poland over a law establishing a commission to investigate alleged Russian influence on Poland's internal security in 2007-2022, the AFP agency reported.

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, signed into law a bill allowing for the establishment of the investigative body on May 29. 

The law, which gives the commission the power to ban people from public office for up to 10 years, has generated a storm of controversy both inside Poland and abroad, with even key allies such as the United States expressing fears it could be used by the government to undermine free and fair elections in Poland. 

In a possible attempt to defuse some of the criticism, on June 2, Duda submitted his draft amendment to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, which envisages that experts, not MPs will sit on the committee and that the new body will not have the power to ban anyone from holding public office. 

But on Wednesday, EC Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the commission had "agreed to start an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice" to Warsaw.

In response to this, Pawel Szrot, head of the President's Office, said: "In my opinion, this is a completely sovereign issue of the Republic of Poland and this matter should not have any international consequences."