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FILE PHOTO: European flags are seen outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission strongly rejected on Tuesday the view of the Polish government that it does not have the competence to make recommendations regarding the rule of law in Poland.

The comments from the EU executive arm come after Poland said on Monday that the legislative process overhauling its judiciary was in line with European standards and called the European Commission's concerns about rule of law in the country groundless.

"We have received the reply from the Polish government. We will now study it carefully. Regarding the point that we have no competence in this sphere, this is something that we would actually quite powerfully refute," a Commission spokeswoman said.

"The rule of law framework sets out how the Commission should react should clear indications of a threat to the rule of law emerge in a member state. The Commission believes that there is such a threat to the rule of law in Poland," she said.

"When there are clear indications of a systemic threat to the rule of law in a member state the Commission can initiate a dialogue with that member state under the rule of law framework. This is precisely what we have been doing with the Polish government over the past year," she said.

On July 26, the Commission said it would launch legal action against Poland over the reforms and gave Warsaw a month to respond to concerns that the process undermines the independence of judges and breaks EU rules.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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