Recent constitutional reforms in Poland have demonstrated a lack of respect for the rule of law and for the fundamental values which form the foundations of the EU legal order. The Polish authorities have substantially deviated from principles that the country has accepted as a part of the Copenhagen criteria. The aim of the article is to analyse the mechanisms and procedures applied by the EU institutions to address the systemic threats to the rule of law in Poland. The main focus of the assessment is on the effectiveness of the measure and its potential for a proper solution to the problem. The response provided by the EU demonstrate that there has been a shift from a political to judicial enforcement of values. The article argues that the remedies that were deemed to be the least suitable to address the systemic deficiencies in the rule of law – an infringement action and a preliminary ruling procedure – proved to be the most effective remedy to defend independence of the Polish judiciary. Unexpectedly, the most efficient institution to ensure the respect for values enshrined in Article 2 TEU in Poland proved to be the CJEU, providing extensive interpretation of Article 19 (1) TEU and Article 47 of the Charter. Nevertheless the values are still much more difficult to enforce than the law. While the most serious infringements have been reversed, this has not prevented the Polish authorities from further violating the rule of law.