In a big blow to the European Union, Poland has ruled against it.
In a massive setback for the European Union, a Polish court found that EU legislation is incompatible with the country’s constitution. In the wake of major spats between Poland’s leadership and the bloc’s major powers, the ruling is being viewed as a crucial step toward a possible withdrawal from the EU.
The decision could have far-reaching implications for Warsaw’s future EU relations.
“The effort by the Court of Justice of the European Union to interfere in the Polish justice system violates the principle of rule of law, the principle of the primacy of the Polish constitution as well as the principle of retaining sovereignty in the process of European integration,” the tribunal found.
The government’s spokesperson, Piotr Müller, stated that the verdict on Thursday supports Morawiecki’s motion.
“The supremacy of constitutional law above other legal systems stems literally from the Polish constitution,” he stated.
“Poland … respects the applicable norms of EU law to the extent that they have been established in areas explicitly and expressly provided for in EU treaties.”
However, the tribunal’s validity is being questioned because it was established following the selection of justices sympathetic to Poland’s ruling party, the Law and Justice party, which violates the country’s constitution.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki posed the question of whether the European Court of Justice goes too far in its judgements on Poland’s judicial system and violates its powers under the European Treaties.
To say the least, the European Commission’s early response is harshly worded.
The new conflict between the two is only the latest chapter in a long-running feud.
The two have been at odds over a variety of issues, including judicial reforms, media freedoms, and LGBT rights.
Although Warsaw has denied having any influence over court judgments, it has been frequently accused of politicising the courts across the tribunal.
The European Union is a crucial component of European integration since it is stringent about laws having precedence.
Defying it, according to Polish opposition politicians, jeopardises Poland’s long-term future in the EU.
It could also bode more trouble for Poland, as it heightens tensions over Poland’s €57 billion (£48 billion) in EU recovery funding, which the EU has yet to approve.
“EU states must not stand by idly when the rule of law continues to be dismantled by the Polish government,” said Jeroen Lenaers of the European People’s Party, a centre-right bloc in the European parliament.
“Neither can the European Commission. Our money can’t finance governments which mock and negate our jointly agreed rules.”
“By declaring that the EU treaties are not compatible with Polish law, the illegitimate constitutional tribunal in Poland has put the country on the path to Polexit.”
“Poland has taken a step towards the abyss of ‘legal Polexit.,” said Jakub Jaraczewski, research coordinator at Democracy Reporting International.
“What will likely follow is a sharp reaction from CJEU seeking to protect EU legal order against a ‘rogue’ member state — for example, by declaring Poland exempt from judicial cooperation mechanisms such as European Arrest Warrant.”