“Poland is a proud country and should not be blackmailed.” That is what Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said in the European Parliament. He entered the lions den to defend the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court.
Two weeks ago, that court ruled that Polish law outweighs European law. It is the first time today that the Polish Government and the European Parliament have debated the contentious ruling, which puts a bomb under the EUs basic principles.
Morawiecki sent a letter yesterday in which he criticized the European institutions. That set the tone for today. It crackled a lot during this debate with MEPs: “You are not honest with the Polish people,” said VVD MEP Malik Azmani and more angry MEPs accuse the Polish Prime Minister of lies and half-truths. A Polish MEP and party mate of Prime Minister Morawiecki spoke again about “a Brussels oppressor”.
Same rights everywhere
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen first addressed parliament and expressed concerns. “Unfortunately, the situation in Poland has aggravated with the Constitutional Court ruling as a low point.” According to Von der Leyen, it is crucial that all EU countries apply European rules in the same way.
Interpreting European law in different countries means that European citizens do not have the same rights everywhere. At the end of her speech, Von der Leyen addressed the Polish people in Polish. She received a resounding applause from most MEPs.
Tension to cut
Then Prime Minister Morawiecki spoke. During his speech, the tension was sometimes cut. He again referred to statements by French and German judges. According to him, they have also put national laws above Europes. Many MEPs shake their heads.
It is a well-known defence by the Polish Prime Minister, which is a bit of a thing to do. In the case of Germany, it was a very specific matter: the European Central Banks debt-buy-buying programme. Except Poland, there is no EU country that subordinates all EU rules to national laws.
Morawiecki stressed that Poland wants to stay in the EU, but that he wants a more equal relationship with the other EU countries. “Were open to conversation, but not a dictation.” He also denounced that the EU has gained more and more new powers. According to him, countries themselves are mainly about their own laws: “We say yes to the EU, but oppose European centralism.”
It remained exciting until the end of his speech. The President of the European Parliament interrupted the Polish Prime Minister several times because he took far too much time. Morawiecki also asked if the chairman would no longer interrupt him.
The European Parliament is the first stop for the Polish Prime Minister. He will go to Brussels on Thursday to attend the EU Summit. He can expect a lot of resistance from Prime Minister Rutte, among others. He wants Poland to no longer be able to claim the EUR 24 billion from the corona recovery fund.