Brussels launches legal action against Polish rulings contrary to EU law | European Commission
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The European Commission has launched legal action against Poland over rulings by the country’s constitutional court that challenged the supremacy of EU law, in an escalation of the long-standing battle between Brussels and Warsaw.
The EU executive said it had “serious concerns” about the Polish constitutional court and its recent case law, citing rulings in which the court challenged the rule of EU law.
Striking at the heart of the EU legal order, the Polish constitutional court ruled in July that the measures imposed by the European Court of Justice were unconstitutional, with warnings of a legal ‘Polexit’.
Poland accepted the rule of EU law when it became a member of the bloc in 2004, but the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (Pis) government that came to power in 2015 sought to challenge this principle, while placing national courts under political control. .
The EU lawsuit follows the July ruling and a similar October ruling. This follows years of legal disputes over the independence of Polish courts. A sign that patience is running out in Brussels, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, declared: “We have tried to initiate a dialogue, but the situation is not improving. The fundamental principles of the EU legal order, in particular the rule of EU law, must be respected.
The committee also said it had “serious doubts” about the independence and impartiality of the Polish Constitutional Court, a body which now includes former PiS deputies. The retired judges of the tribunal said the court had “ceased to perform its constitutional duties and functions” since the overhaul of its composition.
The Polish government claimed that the lawsuit was an attack on its sovereignty. “The EC is initiating proceedings and wants to subordinate the Polish Constitutional Court to EU law,” Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta wrote on Twitter. “It is an attack on the Polish constitution and our sovereignty.”
Beata Szydło, who was Prime Minister of Poland from 2015 to 2017 and is now an MEP, tweeted: “This is not a legal dispute, but an attack on the Polish constitution. [and] the foundations of the Polish state. The EC aims to deprive Poland of its rights as a sovereign state.
Lawyers said the action was important but overdue. “It is great that this is happening and there is no way the commission can maintain any credibility in the area of the rule of law by letting the adventures of [the] Slide from the Polish Constitutional Court, ”wrote Jakub Jaraczewski, researcher at Democracy Reporting International.
The Polish government now has two months to respond to the committee’s “letter of formal notice”. The case could go to the European Court of Justice, resulting in daily fines against Warsaw.
This is just the latest in a storm of lawsuits against Poland launched by the commission, which also froze Warsaw’s access to € 35.6bn (£ 30.2bn) in funds recovery from coronaviruses due to concerns about the lack of independent courts.
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