Leading European politicians have accused Warsaw of “playing with fire” in sharp opposition to the rule of law.
A Polish court ruling challenging the rule of law in European Union has thrown the bloc into crisis of existence, raising fears among EU policymakers and Poland could eventually leave the EU.
Politicians across Europe on Friday expressed frustration with the ruling by Poland’s constitutional tribunal that parts of EU law are inconsistent with the Polish constitution, undermining the legal pillar on which the 27-nation EU stands.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said he was “deeply concerned” and that the EU executive leadership he was leading would do everything in its power to ensure the rule of law in the EU.
He said in a statement that the EU’s 5050 million citizens and its businesses needed legal assurances and that the commission would conduct a quick analysis to determine its next steps.
Although Warsaw and Brussels have been in conflict since the Law and Justice (PiS) Party came to power in 2015, they are now on the verge of full confrontation.
‘Playing with fire’
“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.
Brussels officials say Thursday’s court ruling could result in a series of fines and legal lawsuits against Warsaw that could take months, if not years.
PiS says it has no plans for a “Polexit” and – unlike Britain before the Brexit referendum in 2016 – has more popular support for EU membership in Poland.
Poland’s bloc membership since 2004 has helped drive Europe’s fastest-growing economy. With Russia increasingly destabilizing some Central and Eastern European states that have been under communist rule for decades, many poles see the EU as an essential part of national security.
But, welcoming the court’s ruling, Polish Prime Minister Mateuz Morauyeki said every member state should behave respectfully and that the EU should not be “a group of those who are equal and equal.”
The populist governments of Poland and Hungary have faced growing disagreements with the European Commission on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to judicial independence.
After Moraviki asked if the constitutional tribunal could accept the case and prevent the EU from reorganizing Poland.
Poland is set to receive 770 billion zlotys (193 193 billion) from the bloc by 2028, and critics say the government is risking that funding. Poland’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 was 2. tr trillion zloty (57 557 billion).
A Eurobarometer survey in June and July 2021 showed that almost twice as many poles put the EU in confidence in their national government.
“I think … we are at risk of leaving the European Union, because of all these steps that can be taken step by step,” said Grazina Gulbinovich, a Warsaw pensioner.
“I think it will have a very negative impact on our overall situation, because things are not easy and it will be more difficult without EU funding, not to mention the fact that we will feel isolated.”