The Polish Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month that parts of EU law are incompatible with the country’s constitution, undermining the central principle of the European Union and fueling discussions that Poland may one day leave the bloc of 27 nations.
Responding to a question on the dispute between the EU and Poland on Friday, the outgoing German Chancellor said: “We are all member states of the European Union, which means that we have a duty to always try to find a compromise – without giving up our principles, of course.
“I think it is time to have a more in-depth discussion with the Polish government on how to overcome the problems.
“It is certainly right that from time to time cases have to be decided by the European Court of Justice. “
But his comments have sparked fury from EU officials and MEPs who are convinced that the European Commission should trigger the rule of law mechanism against Poland and other member states, like Hungary, as soon as possible.
Green MEP Sergey Lagodinsky told Politico that Merkel’s comments showed “why we were right to call on Parliament to sue the Commission for inaction”.
He warned: “If we continue to wait and talk, as Merkel suggests, we will soon have no democracy to save in a number of EU states.
READ MORE: EU faces bitter showdown in court as Poland-Hungary feud explodes
Officials expect the Commission to trigger the mechanism in the coming weeks, but it is unclear which country will be its first victim.
The bloc’s executive can trigger politics if it is concerned about shortcomings in the rule of law that could affect the management of the EU budget, such as the lack of independence of national courts from their governments.
Sylwia Żyrek, a lawyer representing the Polish government, argued that the mechanism was not “conditional” in nature, but “it is a mechanism to impose a sanction”.
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Tamas Lukacs, lawyer at the European Parliament, said: “A violation of the rule of law in a member state clearly poses a risk to the execution of the EU budget. “
Defending the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that every member state should be treated with respect and that the EU should not be just “a grouping of those who are equal and more equal”.
The move sparked fears at Polexit, prompting more than 100,000 Poles to demonstrate in favor of the European Union two weeks ago.
Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council and now leader of the main opposition Civic Platform party, said the policies of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party were jeopardizing Poland’s future in Europe.
“We know why they want to leave (the EU) (…)
PiS says it does not have a “Polexit” project.