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Polish leaders have a message for the EU ahead of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday: “We are not giving in to any blackmail”.
These are the words of Jarosław Kaczyński, the country’s de facto leader and leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), in a new interview with pro-government portal Sieci.
The point of view comes as Morawiecki sent a letter on Monday to his fellow EU leaders, whom he is due to meet at a European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, calling on them to be “open to dialogue”.
“I want to assure you that Poland remains a staunch member of the European Union,” said the Polish Prime Minister, stressing that Poland followed EU law and respected the verdicts of the Court of Justice of the EU. “We are obliged to do so to the extent required by the treaties. Not an iota less – and not an iota more.
The Polish responses come as the EU enters what is shaping up to be one of the most tense weeks in strained relations between Warsaw and Brussels. Long-standing concerns about the rule of law in Poland, caused by the efforts of the ruling Nationalist Party to exercise greater political control over the justice system, came to a head after a ruling issued earlier this month- ci by the country’s Constitutional Court concluded that the Polish constitution had primacy over certain aspects of EU law, thus undermining the legal basis of the European Union.
This prompts the European Commission to slow down approval of Poland’s request for € 24 billion in grants and € 12 billion in loans under the EU’s pandemic stimulus package.
Although Poland and the rule of law are not on the agenda for this week’s leaders’ meeting, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said he will push to freeze Poland’s money. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already warned EU countries and the European Parliament against rushing to block Polish stimulus funds.
The European Parliament is also putting pressure on Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to take action against Poland, either by blocking pandemic aid money or by triggering a new mechanism that links the funding of the EU to the criteria of the rule of law.
The crisis with Brussels has opposition in Poland warning that the PiS aims to leave the EU in what it calls a “Polexit”. This could pose a potential problem for the government, as EU membership is extremely popular in the country.
In his interview, Kaczyński stressed that Polexit “is complete nonsense”.
“Looking at all these attacks on Poland, we cannot ignore one more element – Russian influence in Europe,” he said.
He also added that Poland was planning to change its approach to the justice system again, this time eliminating a new disciplinary chamber at the Supreme Court, a body which the EU Court of Justice said should be suspended because it lack of guarantees of “independence”. and impartiality.
“In its current form [the chamber] does not achieve the planned objectives but creates unnecessary tensions, ”said Kaczyński. “After this reform, at least one of the points of tension will disappear.
In his letter to other leaders, Moraweicki attempted to explain that Poland was acting in the broader interest of EU countries in its ongoing battles for the rule of law.
He said he wanted to draw their attention “to a dangerous phenomenon which threatens the future of our Union. We need to be concerned about the gradual transformation of the Union into an entity which ceases to be an alliance of free, equal and sovereign states, and instead becomes a single, centrally managed body run by private oversight institutions. democratic by the citizens of European countries.
Morawiecki also argued that the Polish Constitutional Court did nothing more than similar courts in other EU countries which also clashed with the EU and the Court of Justice. “It is a well-traced course of jurisprudence, which is by no means a novelty,” he wrote.
However, many legal analysts disagree. The consequences of the decision “could be serious not only for Poland, but for the European Union as a whole,” wrote Medel, a legal NGO.
Morawiecki called on his fellow leaders to avoid a rule of law confrontation.
“The language of financial blackmail, of punishment, of the ‘starvation’ of non-subordinate states, of undemocratic and centralist pressures have no place in European politics,” he said, adding: “Poland is ready for dialogue. We are eager to discuss, in a spirit of mutual respect and respect for our sovereignty, without pushing ourselves to give up our national competences. “
As a sign that Warsaw has no plans to retreat, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the man who pushed through the sweeping changes to the justice system, said on Monday he would pressure his government to quash ‘he files a complaint before the EU Court of Justice against Germany for violating EU treaties by politicizing his own judicial system. His argument is that Germany is guilty of the same thing Poland is accused of – politicians choose judges.
“We are in the EU,” Ziobro told reporters. “These principles must be common and must be strictly observed.
But Poland has been criticized because the government is breaking the rules set out in the constitution about how judges are chosen; the same is not true for Germany.