PARIS: French President Francois Hollande warned Friday that an EU member state could be sanctioned if the extreme-right came to power there -- and could even be suspended from the bloc.
"A country can be suspended from the European Union," Hollande told France Inter radio.
"Europe has legal tools, through articles in treaties, to prevent a country from violating democratic principles," he said.
Human rights watchdog the Council of Europe last week expressed concern at legislative changes proposed by Poland's new right-wing government that have been described both at home and abroad as unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Similar concerns have been expressed about Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
"When the freedom of the media is in danger, when constitutions and human rights are under attack, Europe must not just be a safety net. It must put in place procedures to suspend (countries) -- it can go that far," Hollande said.
He said no country had ever been suspended from the EU for such a reason but he said "checks" were necessary on the proposed changes in Poland.