© Reuters file photo: Polish and European Union flags fly in front of the Polish parliament in Warsaw on June 29, 2011.
By Joanna Plukinska and Sabine Seabold
WARSAW (Reuters) – A Polish court ruling challenging the rule of law in EU on Friday plunged the European Union into an existential crisis and increased Poland’s chances of exiting the two-nation bloc.
Politicians across Europe have expressed frustration with the court’s move to undermine the European Union’s legal pillars, with one minister warning the Eastern European country that it was “playing with fire”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was “deeply concerned” by Thursday’s ruling by Poland’s constitutional tribunal and that she would do everything in her power to ensure the supremacy of EU law.
Welcoming the court’s ruling, the Polish prime minister said his country wanted to remain in the rich trade and political group that joined in 2004 but each member state must be treated equally and with respect.
Warsaw has long been at odds with Brussels over democratic values and the independence of the judiciary. But Thursday’s ruling that parts of EU law were inconsistent with the Polish constitution led Warsaw and Brussels to full conflict.
“We have to make it clear that this Polish government is playing with fire,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said as he arrived at a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.
“The unification of Europe and the supremacy of European law are essential for coexistence in Europe. If this principle is broken, Europe, as we know it, as built by the Treaty of Rome, will cease to exist.”
French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said the ruling by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal was an attack on the European Union that could lead to economic sanctions against Warsaw.
“This is the most serious … there is a real risk of leaving the European Union,” Beun told BFM TV, adding that he did not want Poland to leave the bloc.
No plans for ‘POLEXIT’
Poland’s Law and Justice (PIS) party government has said it has no plans for “Polexit” and – unlike Britain before the Brexit referendum in 2016 – has more popular support for EU membership in Poland.
The constitutional tribunal accepted the case when Prime Minister Matius Morauyeki asked if the EU could prevent Poland from reorganizing its judiciary.
“We want a respectful community, not a collection of people who are equal and equal. It’s our community, our union,” Morauyeki said on Facebook (Nasdaq :), referring to Yor. “This is the kind of union we want and this kind of union we will create.”
Von der Leyen said in a statement that the EU needs 5050 million citizens and its businesses need legal guarantees and that its executive will use all its powers under the EU treaty to ensure that blockchain law prevails over national law.
He said the commission would conduct a quick analysis to determine its next steps. Officials in Brussels said the decision could lead to a series of fines and lawsuits against Warsaw, which could take months, if not years.
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