EU countries have reacted astonishingly to the Polish Constitutional Court ruling. That ruled yesterday that Polish law exceeds European law.
At the request of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Constitutional Court considered what outweighs: Polish or European law. Some articles of the European Union treaties and some EU court rulings are contrary to the Polish Constitution, the verdict read.
It was already expected that the ruling would further sharpen relations between Poland and the other EU countries. “An attack on Europe”, the French Minister of European Affairs calls the Polish judges judgment. He does not rule out economic sanctions. “Its very serious. There is a risk of Poland leaving the European Union.” He adds that he doesnt find that scenario desirable.
The Dutch demissionary minister Knapen thinks the situation is extremely worrying: “It accumulates. The European Union exists on the basis that everyone adheres to European rules, so we have to go back to that, either counterclockwise or clockwise.” According to him, the patience ends at some point. Knapen does see something in financial sanctions, such as the holding of European corona money for Poland. “That would be my preference, but we have to see what can and may.”
Luxembourg is also very strong. “This development in Poland is very disturbing,” says Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. “We have to say that Poland plays with fire.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also condemns the judges ruling and says that countries belonging to the EU must comply fully with all the rules.
The European Commission announced yesterday in a written statement that it was “seriously concerned” about the ruling and stated that EU legislation is above national laws.
Rejoiced Polish Reactions
ruling is divided in Poland. Prime Minister Morawiecki is pleased to respond in a post on Facebook. “We want a community out of respect, not a group where some are more equal than others.” Former Prime Minister and former European Council President Donald Tusk calls on pro-European compatriots to take the streets.
Tusk is the leader of the Conservative-Liberal Opposition Party Civil Platform (PO), Polands largest opposition party. He calls on people to meet in Warsaw on Sunday to demonstrate against the Constitutional Court ruling.
The European Court in Luxembourg has touched Poland on several occasions because of reforms that jeopardize independent case-law. The Polish Conservative Government Party Pis (Law and Justice) has been arguing with the European Commission for many years. The Pis does not want Europe to interfere with the Polish legal system.
Council of Europe anti-corruption body GRECO reported last month that the position of independent justice in Poland has weakened even further since a critical report in 2018. GRECO disagrees with the Polish Judges Disciplinary Chamber in particular. This disciplinary chamber of the Polish court can punish judges. The chamber consists of judges selected by the National Judiciary Council, which has been appointed again by the Pis dominated parliament.
Also check out this CCeit explainer at 3 on legal battle between Poland and the EU: