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FILE PHOTO: Netherlands' Foreign Minister Bert Koenders arrives to addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

(reuters_tickers)

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland's alleged slide from democracy came under scrutiny from fellow European Union states on Tuesday, with some openly questioning the nationalist government in Warsaw's commitment to EU values.

The Law and Justice government has rejected criticism from Brussels and decried what it says is an unacceptable interference in domestic affairs.

The party promotes a mix of conservative social values, high social spending and active state engagement in the economy, with euroscepticism and deep mistrust of its two powerful neighbours - Germany and Russia.

Since coming to power, it has put the judiciary and public media under more political control, triggering alarm from political opponents and rights groups that it is infringing on basic rights and liberties.

"The issue of the rule of law is extremely important for all of us in the EU and therefore I don't think it should be a taboo (to discuss it)," Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said as he arrived for a meeting of all 28 ministers to talk about Poland.

"We are a community of values, when there is an issue, as we have at the moment with Poland, we should have a serious dialogue."

The European Union's executive Commission opened an unprecedented investigation into threats to the rule of law in Poland in January 2016, and has since exchanged numerous letters and recommendations with Warsaw, which has refused to budge.

Tuesday's meeting was the first among the member states.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Reuters

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