The European Union announced Monday it will take Poland to the bloc's top court to stop alleged breaches of the independence of the country's supreme court.
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said Poland's decision to lower the age at which Supreme Court judges must retire from 70 to 65, would undermine judicial independence and breach Poland's obligations under EU law.
"The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU due to the violations of the principle of judicial independence created by the new Polish law on the Supreme Court," the commission said.
The commission statement said it has asked the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to take "interim measures" pending a ruling in the case.
"The European Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence," it added.
It said the action violates Poland's obligations under the EU treaty, which it signed onto when it joined the European Union.
The commission has for more than two years been in talks with Warsaw about a number of judicial reforms that the EU says threaten the rule of law in Poland. But it has called for swift action on the Supreme Court issue.
The new retirement age, introduced by Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government, cames into force in July and would require more than a third of current Supreme Court judges to step down.
The EU and the Warsaw government's Polish critics argue these measures undermine the division of powers and therefore threaten democracy and the rule of law.