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EU fears court independence under threat in eastern Europe

EU fears court independence under threat in eastern Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top justice official says the independence of the judiciary is under threat in countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, and warns that the trend could damage trust between all EU member states.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said Friday that "challenges to the rule of law are mounting in some countries, at a time when the needed reforms of the judiciary are polluted with extremely politicized debates."

Jourova says citizens and companies in the countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, are concerned that political pressure and interference is mounting and that, beyond impeding fair trials, this risks harming business.

She says that "if a justice system is broken in one country, the impact will be felt all over the EU because we rely on mutual trust."