Politicians across Europe expressed dismay on Friday at the Polish Constitutional Court’s ruling on Thursday that parts of EU law are incompatible with the Polish constitution, undermining the legal pillar on which the 27-country EU rests .
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said she was “deeply concerned” and that the EU executive she heads will do everything in its power to ensure the rule of law in the country. ‘EU.
She said in a statement that the 450 million citizens of the EU and its businesses need legal certainty and that the Commission will do a quick analysis to decide on the next steps.
Although Warsaw and Brussels have been at daggers drawn since the rise to power of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in 2015, they are now on a collision course.
‘Play with fire’
“We must make it clear that this government in Poland is playing with fire,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said upon his arrival for a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.
“The primacy of European law is essential for the integration of Europe and for living it together in Europe. If this principle is violated, Europe as we know it, as it was built with the Treaties of Rome, will cease to exist.
Officials in Brussels have said Thursday’s court ruling could lead to a series of fines and lawsuits against Warsaw that will take months, if not years, to unfold.
The PiS says it has no ‘Polexit’ plan and – unlike Britain before its Brexit referendum in 2016 – popular support for EU membership is high in Poland.
Poland’s membership of the bloc since 2004 has contributed to one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. With an increasingly assertive Russia troubling some central and eastern European states that have been for decades under communist rule, many Poles see the EU as an essential part of national security.
But, welcoming the court ruling, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that every member state should be treated with respect and that the EU should not be “a grouping of those who are equal and more equal”.
The concerns of the Poles
The populist governments of Poland and Hungary have found themselves increasingly at odds with the European Commission on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to judicial independence.
The Constitutional Court took up the case after Morawiecki asked it if the EU institutions could prevent Poland from reorganizing its judicial system.
Poland is expected to receive some 770 billion zlotys ($ 193 billion) from the bloc by 2028, and critics say the government is putting that funding at risk. Poland’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.3 trillion zlotys ($ 577 billion) in 2020.
A Eurobarometer survey carried out in June and July 2021 showed that almost twice as many Poles trust the EU as their national government.
“I think… there is a risk that we can get out of the EU, because all these actions that are happening can lead to this step by step,” said Warsaw retiree Grazyna Gulbinowicz.
“I think it would have a very negative impact on our overall situation, because things are not easy and without European funds it will be even more difficult, not to mention the fact that we will feel isolated. ”