Poland accuses the EU of 'attacking' as Brussels launches legal action

Poland accuses the EU of 'attacking' as Brussels launches legal action

12/22/2021

Poland accuses the EU of ‘attacking our sovereignty’ and vows to fight its ‘bureaucracy’ as Brussels launches legal action against the country for over-ruling European Union laws

  • Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said bureaucracy ‘has to be stopped’
  • Warsaw’s constitutional court has ruled Polish laws have supremacy on EU laws
  • But conditions of EU membership state laws must be in line with the bloc’s rules
  • European Commission said Poland ‘expressly challenging the primacy of EU law’

Poland has accused the EU of ‘attacking our sovereignty’ and vowed to fight its ‘bureaucracy’ after Brussels launched legal action against the country for over-ruling European Union laws.  

In remarks broadcast on national television, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the EU’s decision reflected a trend towards ‘bureaucratic centralism’ in Brussels that ‘has to be stopped’. 

While Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta branded the EU legal action announcement ‘an attack on the Polish constitution and our sovereignty’. 

The decision to launch legal action escalates a long-running feud between Warsaw and Brussels over Poland’s perceived backsliding on EU democratic norms. 

In October, Poland’s constitutional court ruled that Polish laws have supremacy over those of the EU in areas where they conflict. In November, the same tribunal ruled the European rights pact was incompatible with its constitution.

When countries join the EU, as Poland did in 2004, they must bring their laws into line with the bloc’s regulations and accept the European Court of Justice as the supreme arbiter of those rules.   

In launching its legal action, the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, said that it sees two constitutional tribunal decisions this year as ‘expressly challenging the primacy of EU law’.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned that EU bureaucracy ‘has to be stopped’ after Brussels launched legal action against the country for over-ruling European Union laws

The EU decision to launch legal action has escalated a long-running feud between Warsaw and Brussels over Poland’s perceived backsliding on EU democratic norms (pictured, thousands attend a pro-EU rally in Krakow, Poland on October 10, 2021 after the first ruling against the EU)

Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta branded the EU legal action announcement ‘an attack on the Polish constitution and our sovereignty’

EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the infringement proceedings targeted Poland for breaching the primacy of EU law and for deciding that certain articles of EU treaties were incompatible with Polish laws. 

Brussels is already withholding approval of coronavirus recovery funds for Poland over the row. 

Former prime minister Beata Szydlo, an MEP for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said: ‘This is no longer a legal dispute, it is an attack on the Polish constitution and the foundations of Polish statehood’.

Morawiecki said he ‘deeply’ disagreed with the European Commission’s move, adding that it showed a lack of understanding of the distinction between EU and national competences. 

‘More and more EU member states are seeing that there should be a limit to competences – what the European Union can decide on and what the Polish state can decide on,’ he said. 

EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (pictured in Brussels on December 22) said the infringement proceedings targeted Poland for breaching the primacy of EU law and for deciding that certain articles of EU treaties were incompatible with Polish laws

Legal action from Brussels was expected given persistent defiance from Poland’s Constitutional Court to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ECJ has already ruled against Poland for implementing a mechanism to lift the immunity of judges in the Constitutional Court and to sack any not deemed acceptable by the parliament dominated by the Law and Justice party.

The European Commission is also upset over a 2019 Polish law that prevents Polish courts applying EU law in certain areas, and from referring legal questions to the ECJ.

Gentiloni told a press conference the Polish moves ‘breached the general principles of autonomy, primacy, effectiveness and uniform application of Union law and the binding rulings of the Court of Justice’.  

In October, Poland’s constitutional court (pictured) ruled that Polish laws have supremacy over those of the EU in areas where they conflict. In November, the same tribunal ruled the European rights pact was incompatible with its constitution 

Legal action from Brussels was expected given persistent defiance from Poland’s Constitutional Court to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (pictured)

The European Commission, he said, considers the Polish Constitutional Court ‘no longer meets the requirements of an independent and impartial tribunal established by law, as required’ by a fundamental EU treaty. 

He said Poland had two months to respond to a formal letter setting out the grounds of the infringement procedure. In the event of no satisfactory reply, the matter could be sent to the ECJ.

While there is no option to kick Poland out of the EU for not respecting the bloc’s laws, it could be hit with daily fines possibly a loss of voting rights for non-compliance.

But Poland and Hungary – another eastern EU member accused of undermining democratic norms – have a pact mutually shielding each other from more extreme EU punishment, such as removing their voting rights in the bloc.

Hungary, too, faces delays to receiving EU coronavirus recovery money because of its own defiance of EU rules.

Both countries have threatened to block EU business in retaliation for Brussels’ actions.

Gentiloni said he was ‘confident’ the rows with Warsaw and Budapest would not degenerate into a ‘tit for tat’ cycle – but cautioned ‘we can’t exclude anything’.

Hungary, too, faces delays to receiving EU coronavirus recovery money because of its own defiance of EU rules (pictured, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban)

Source: Read Full Article