Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

‘Long road ahead of us!’ Tensions between Europe and Poland surge over primacy of EU law

EU member states 'questioning union' following Poland clash

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According to a senior member of Poland’s ruling party, a row over the primacy of EU law has started as Poland could adopt a “dirty Remainer” strategy and stop the EU’s policy machine. The disagreement with Brussels and Warsaw over the rule of law has hit another peak and could see the EU’s aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 abandoned.

Professor Ryszard Legutko, leads the ruling Law and Justice party’s delegation in the EU parliament.

Prof Legutko suggested his bosses in Warsaw are planning responses to threats to withhold tens of billions of euros in EU funding.

However, last month Poland’s country’s top court ruled its national laws are supreme to the bloc’s.

During a summit with European leaders in Brussels this week, Poland was told around £51 billion in EU funds were at risk if Poland failed to follow the EU’s rules.

The Polish government has been at loggerheads with the EU Commission for five years over a number of controversial judicial reforms.

The reforms included a disciplinary chamber for judges who do not toe the party line.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Party said documents on reforming the judicial system are ‘already prepared.’

He said: “The Polish government has several options.

“It can sue the European Commission, though I wouldn’t recommend it because I do not trust the European Court of Justice [ECJ].

“It is clear the ECJ is supporting the strategy of the centralisation of Europe, so it has its own political agenda, it’s not an impartial court.

“Or the Polish government can… there are other instruments like voting in the Council, the questions that are to be decided by consensus.”

However, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission has said she will take time before deciding whether to punish Warsaw, saying: “We have a long road ahead of us.”

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Malgorzata Szulecka, a lawyer from the Helsinki Foundation of Human rights, spoke about the changes.

She said: “I’m concerned that any changes will not be in accordance with international standards or whether they will be just window dressing, so at the end of the road, cases against judges will still not be heard by an independent body.”

Ms Szulecka added: “I think the key priority here for the government is to muddy the waters, to make such a legal mess so that it, using the back door, can legalise the judges appointed by the national judicial council.”

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