Poland will impose its own laws on the EU. Therefore, what was exchanged between the parties in the European Parliament on Tuesday was far from praise.
The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was clear in her speech:
“I am deeply concerned,” she told the European Parliament.
To find the cause for concern, we must go to the Supreme Court of Poland. In short, in practice it has qualified certain EU laws as incompatible with the Polish constitution. It emerged in a ruling in early October.
Various feared it was the beginning of a Polish secession from the EU. And if the relationship between the EU leadership and the Polish ruling party was an open wound from before, that ruling turned into a salt shaker.
“Without independent laws and courts, the rule of law is in jeopardy,” von der Leyen said.
The EU leader said from the rostrum that Poland “threatens all the foundations” of the EU. Poland, on the other hand, considers itself attacked and threatened by the EU.
There was little doubt about it when it was the Polish prime minister’s turn to use the microphone.
Accuses the EU of blackmail
Poland and the EU have been in conflict for several years now. In recent years, the Polish ruling party has launched far-reaching reforms in the judiciary, which have not been well received by the EU. Among other things, the government, led by the PiS party, has allowed judges to be punished for their sentences.
Tuesday’s round in parliament was far from a patch on the wound. EU leader von der Leyen was aware that the EU might have to take action against Poland.
– And the alternatives are well known, he told parliament.
Well, maybe not for most people, but to be brief:
- The EU can oppose the Supreme Court ruling or opt for two much more intrusive alternatives.
- One is withholding tens of billions of euros in support money.
- The second is to limit Poland’s rights as a member state.
– We cannot and will not allow anything that endangers our common values, said von der Leyen.
As mentioned, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took the podium after her. Nor did he skimp on the power speech:
– We do not believe in blackmail and condescending attitudes. I will not accept that EU politicians are pressuring us, he said.
Will this be the beginning of “polexit”?
In early October, it was speculated that the conflict with the EU could trigger a Polish secession. The Wikipedia article on “Polexit” appeared as early as December last year.
But Prime Minister Morawiecki knew that Poland would not initiate any form of secession. He added that they do not want to be expelled either, he emphasized to the parliament.
– Our inhabitants are neither blind nor deaf. We cannot and will not remain silent, Morawiecki said.
Poland has been a member of the EU since 2004. According to Financial times, the latest polls show that 80 percent of the population wants to stay in the union.
Morawiecki expressed concern that EU courts have deprived member states of power. It is up to the member states themselves to decide what kind of responsibility they delegate to the EU, he said from the rostrum.
– The competence of the EU has clear limitations, and we must not remain silent when these restrictions are broken.
However, the Prime Minister believes that the union has misinterpreted the controversial Supreme Court ruling. It should only be seen as a “no to European centralization,” he said.
Handshake on Facebook
Despite strong words along the way, Ursula von der Leyen also took time to talk about more diplomatic formulations.
-I have always been an advocate of dialogue and always will be, she said.
It should reassure those who fear an EU without Poland, or vice versa.
– This is a situation that we can and must resolve. We want a strong Poland in a united Europe, von der Leyen said.
Prime Minister Morawiecki would be no worse. Upon Facebook has published a long post about today’s meeting in parliament. It concludes by praising the EU’s cooperation.
– Long live Poland and long live the European Union, he writes.