The heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) bet this Thursday on dialogue with Poland to resolve the conflict generated by the controversial ruling of its Constitutional Court, although they did not rule out expedite or sanction Warsaw after a ruling that questions the very foundations of the Union. The “serene” debate among the Twenty-seven served to show that they consider the rule of law and judicial independence “absolutely fundamental” and to “identify the exact difficulties and better understand the different points of view”, indicated European sources. And, although they recalled that the EU has legal mechanisms to respond, the conclusion was that “political dialogue” must continue to achieve a resolution.
The debate has crept into the agenda of a European summit that was to be focused on addressing the increase in energy prices after a week in which the Polish Government, on the one hand, and the Commission and the European Parliament, on the other. , have staged in the hemicycle the escalation of tension between Brussels and Warsaw on account of the latter’s problems with the rule of law.
The trigger was a ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court that questions the primacy of Community law over national law, a verdict issued at the request of the Government of the ultra-conservative Polish party, which contradicts the foundations of the Union and represents a further step in the deterioration of judicial independence in the country according to Brussels. The large EU states made an effort today to lower the tone of the dispute and urged dialogue to get out of the quagmire, but made clear their support for the European Commission, which is studying how to respond to the sentence. Brussels could block Community funds for the country – in fact it has already halted the approval of its recovery plan for 36,000 million euros -, open a new infringement file that ends up in court or promote the procedure of Article 7 by which the partners can withdraw the right to vote.
Call for dialogue
“We must find ways and possibilities to get closer again because a cascade of litigation before the European Court of Justice is not a solution to the problem of how the rule of law can be applied,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arriving at the which will probably be his last European summit. The Chancellor considered that, beyond the Polish question, the EU has a “fundamental problem” on which it should reflect, which is the different idea of the Union that each country has. “Is it an ever closer union or is it more the national state?” He wondered. “From a position of support and endorsement of the European Commission, what I have transferred to Poland is that we find a constructive way of dialogue to be able to find a solution that takes the EU and the Member States out of this complex situation,” he said. the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, pointing out that Poland is “a great country.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also urged the eastern partner to seek “a solution compatible with our principles and our common rules”, after meeting this morning, like Sánchez and Merkel, with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.
Poland defends the sentence
Upon his arrival at the summit, Morawiecki assured that his country will not act under “blackmail”, but affirmed that they are “ready for dialogue”, something more conciliatory than in the tough debate last Tuesday in Strasbourg. “We do not agree with the increasing scope of European competences, but we want to talk to resolve the current disputes by mutual agreement and dialogue, “he said.
Morawiecki affirmed that Poland recognizes the primacy of European norms over national legislation in areas where countries have transferred competences to the EU, but cannot accept that the rest of matters are also regulated by the European Commission or the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), an argument that was supported by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, who considered it “ridiculous” and unnecessary to adopt sanctions against Warsaw.
Sanctions on the table
The hardest with Poland were, on the contrary, the Benelux countries. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte considered it “difficult” to deliver the money from the recovery fund to Poland without resolving this issue and urged Warsaw to “take the necessary measures to safeguard judicial independence“.” This has to do with the foundations of our democracies, here we cannot negotiate, “he said.” A red line has been crossed, “said the head of the Belgian Government, Alexander De Croo, noting that if a country wants to benefit of the advantages of a club must respect the rules.
The European Parliament, for its part, today approved a resolution by a large majority in which it asked the Commission and countries to “act immediately” and energetically before the sentence, blocking community funds, opening an infringement file and advancing in the article 7, among other measures.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.