Why is a Polish Court Ruling Triggering Concerns of 'Polexit' from EU?
Poland’s highest court recently ruled that some of the EU laws are conflicting with the country’s constitution.
With Poland’s highest court ruling that some of the European Union laws are conflicting with the country’s constitution, EU policymakers are worried of the possibility of Poland exiting the bloc.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki welcomed the ruling, and on a Facebook post he wrote, “We want a community of respect and not a grouping of those who are equal and more equal. This is our community, our Union."
But the European Commission appears to be “deeply concerned” about the repercussions of such a move.
In a public statement, Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission said, “I have instructed the commission’s services to analyse it thoroughly and swiftly. On this basis, we will decide on next steps.”
Why is Poland at Loggerheads With EU?
The European Commission and the conservative government in Poland headed by Morawiecki have had a rocky relationship for a while, over a number of issues including LGBTQIA rights and disagreement over the law of supremacy.
But at the heart of the row, is the Polish government's introduction of new regulations that enables politicians to have a say over judicial appointments.
The right-wing government had been making sweeping overhauls of the judiciary including the setting up of a disciplinary chamber at the Supreme Court.
But the European Commission, which considers this move to be a threat to the independent functioning of the judiciary, maintained that this not only exposes the judiciary to political influence but also undermines EU laws.
What worsened the standoff is the recent majority ruling from the country's Constitutional Tribunal that held that certain provisions in the treaties binding EU members clashed with Poland’s constitution.
It said that being an EU member didn't mean that EU laws prevailed over Poland's laws.
What Could This Mean for EU?
After this move triggered worries of a potential "Polexit", Prime Minister Morawiecki while hailing the judgment also said that Poland had no plans of exiting European Union.
"Poland's place is and will be in the European family of nations," Morawiecki said in a Facebook post.
But critics feel that this move cannot be without repercussions. They believe that challenging EU laws would jeopardize both Poland's position and the EU.
According to reports, Luxembourg’s minister for foreign affairs, Jean Asselborn, said, "We have to state clearly that this government in Poland is playing with fire."
As per reports, officials in Brussels said that this ruling could snowball into to a big legal issue over the coming months.
This can also imperil Poland’s access to EU funds including the €58bn (£49bn) worth Covid recovery plan for the country that the EU is yet to approve.
But unlike Britain, an overwhelming majority of Polish citizens are in favour of EU membership.
(With agency inputs)
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