Polish court ruling plunges EU into new crisis, EU ministers say | World news


By Joanna Plucinska and Sabine Siebold

WARSAW (Reuters) – A Polish court ruling challenging the supremacy of EU law has plunged the European Union into an existential crisis and raises the possibility of Poland leaving the bloc of 27 countries, ministers warned on Friday. other Member States.

Welcoming the decision of the Constitutional Court, the Polish prime minister said his eastern European country wanted to remain in the wealthy political and trade group it joined in 2004, but that each member state should be treated on a one-to-one basis. on an equal footing and with respect.

Warsaw has long disagreed with Brussels on democratic standards and the independence of its judiciary. But Thursday’s ruling that parts of EU law are incompatible with the Polish constitution challenges the legal order on which the union is based and puts Warsaw and Brussels on a path of total collision.

“We must make it clear that this government in Poland is playing with fire,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said upon his arrival for a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.

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“The primacy of European law is essential for the integration of Europe and living together in Europe. If this principle is broken, Europe as we know it, as it was built with the Treaties of Rome, will cease to exist.

French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said the Polish Constitutional Court’s decision was an attack on the EU which could lead to economic sanctions against Warsaw.

“This is the most serious … There is the de facto risk of leaving the European Union,” Beaune told BFM TV, adding that he did not want Poland to leave the bloc.

The Polish Law and Justice (PiS) government has said it has no plan for a ‘Polexit’ and – unlike Britain before its Brexit referendum in 2016 – popular support for membership to the EU is high in Poland.

The Constitutional Court took up the case after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked it whether the EU institutions could prevent Poland from reorganizing its judicial system.

“We want a community of respect and not a grouping of those who are equal and more equal. This is our community, our Union,” Morawiecki said on Facebook, referring to the EU. “This is the kind of Union we want and this is the kind of Union we are going to create.”

The European Commission executive said on Thursday that the decision raised serious concerns about the rule of law in the EU.

Officials in Brussels said the move could lead to a long obstacle course of fines and lawsuits against Warsaw.

(Additional reporting by Francesco Guarascio in Brussels and Dominique Vidalon in Paris, written by John Chalmers)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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