Senior EU official says Polish move threatens bloc


The top European Union official said the recent ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the foundations of the bloc

BRUSSELS – The senior European Union official said on Tuesday that the recent ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the foundations of the bloc.

Speaking to EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed deep concern over the move, which she said poses “a direct challenge to the unity of the ‘EU’ and undermines the protection of judicial independence.

“We cannot and will not allow our common values ​​to be endangered,” said Von der Leyen. “The rule of law is the glue that binds our union together.”

Relations between Poland and the EU hit a new low earlier this month after the court ruled that Polish laws took precedence over those of the 27-nation bloc, which Poland joined in 2004, exacerbating the persistent tensions over democratic standards between right-wing nationalists of the country’s government and Brussels institutions.

The split came to a head during the plenary session of the European Parliament, where Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will also deliver a speech later on Tuesday.

At the heart is the question of who should have the most power within the bloc of 27 nations – each individual nation over its citizens or the EU institutions over member nations. It was the main driving force behind Britain’s exit from the EU and aroused passions in several Central and Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary.

The idea behind the EU is that a united front will make the 27 nations a formidable power in the world, while being spectators as individual countries. And while Member States are happy to see this power used in international relations, some hate it when it affects them.

Depending on how the Polish government decides to use the latest decision, the committee has other financial options to try to bring Warsaw into line with EU law, including continuing to block access to the country. billions of euros in European money to help jumpstart its economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee could also activate a mechanism allowing the suspension of payments of EU money to a member country violating rule of law principles in a way that affects the bloc’s budget or financial interests.

“We want a strong Poland in a united Europe,” said von der Leyen, adding that it was open to everyone.



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