European Union declares that Poland’s “direct challenge” to its unity will not go unpunished – .

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European Union declares that Poland’s “direct challenge” to its unity will not go unpunished – .


BRUSSELS – The Polish prime minister has been repeatedly criticized during a tense debate in the European Parliament on Tuesday, with the EU chief executive warning Warsaw that his challenge to the rule of law of the 27-nation bloc would not go unpunished.

“Your arguments are not improving. You just escape the debate, ”said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, visibly exasperated by Pole Mateusz Morawiecki after more than four hours of back and forth.

Von der Leyen said that a ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court last week that certain parts of European Union law are incompatible with the Polish constitution was “a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order”.

She presented three options for responding to the Polish court’s attack on the rule of EU law, ranging from legal action to cut funding and suspension of voting rights.

Brussels has long complained that the Polish government is undermining the independence of its judiciary, but the court ruling has turned a deadlock into a full-fledged crisis, raising fears that Poland may eventually leave the bloc.

The ruling nationalist party in Poland, Law and Justice, said it had no “Polexit” project and, unlike Britain before its Brexit referendum in 2016, popular support for EU membership remains high in Poland.

In an open letter sent ahead of his appearance at the EU assembly in Strasbourg, France, Morawiecki complained about the drift of the EU’s mission that would lead to a “centrally managed body, governed by private institutions of democratic control ”.

He doubled that down during the parliamentary debate on Tuesday, accusing the bloc of overstepping his authority.

“The competences of the EU have clear limits, we must not remain silent when these limits are crossed,” he said. “So we say yes to European universalism, but we say no to European centralism. “

Von der Leyen said she was “deeply concerned” by the Polish court ruling, as it “calls into question the foundations” of the EU and the European Commission has been forced to act.

She said the first option of action was a so-called offense, where the European Commission legally challenges the Polish court’s judgment, which could lead to fines.

Another option was a conditionality mechanism and other financial tools by which EU funds would be withheld from Poland.

Until Warsaw’s clash with Brussels is resolved, he’s unlikely to see any of the 23.9 billion euros in grants and 12.1 billion euros in cheap loans he has applied for. as part of the EU recovery fund after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The EU could even possibly block Poland’s access to EU grants for development and structural projects in the 2021-2027 budget amounting to around € 70 billion.

Von der Leyen said a third option was the application of Article 7 of the EU treaties. By virtue of this, the rights of member states – including the right to vote on EU decisions – can be suspended because they have violated the core values ​​of the bloc.

A succession of members of the European Parliament rose to castigate the Polish leader after his intervention, and some European ministers meeting in Luxembourg joined the chorus of criticism.

The Finnish Minister for European Affairs said that a compromise could not be the solution and that the European Commission must act.

“We don’t want to escort anyone,” Tytti Tuppurainen told reporters. “We respect the wish of the Polish people to be inside the EU and to remain a member of the EU, but we will not compromise the EU’s value base. “

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