Brussels argues that "Poland's place is in the EU" despite tension with Warsaw

The European Commission argues that “Poland’s place” is in the European Union (EU), despite tensions between Brussels and Warsaw after the Polish Constitutional Court declared primacy of some national laws over European ones.

“Poland’s place is in the EU”, says European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders in a written interview with Lusa news agency.

Asked about a possible withdrawal of Poland from the community space (which some experts have already called ‘Polexit’, given the designation of ‘Brexit’ attributed to the UK’s exit from the EU), Didier Reynders rejects this scenario, recalling the “protests in Poland during the last weekend” to support community integration.

“Peaceful demonstrations are a fundamental right in all democratic countries and we will always support the right to peaceful protest”, says the European Commissioner of Justice, considering it “encouraging to see so many citizens waving EU flags and clearly saying they want Poland maintain its full place in the Union”.

Still, the official emphasizes in this interview with Lusa that “the maintenance of the rule of law in the EU is a responsibility shared by all European institutions, as well as by all Member States”.

“It is important that Member States and others [atores] participate in these joint efforts”, says Didier Reynders, adding that “the Commission will continue to play its full role as guardian of the Treaties, taking decisive, appropriate and proportionate measures to defend EU law, when and if necessary”.

The position of the European responsible for guardianship comes after, last Thursday, the Constitutional Court of Poland ruled that some of the laws included in the Treaty of Accession of the country to the EU are incompatible with the Polish Constitution.

That court ruled after several postponements and at the request of the Polish Government, which asked for its opinion on the prevalence of Polish law or European law in the event of a conflict between them, in a dispute that has been going on for several months between Warsaw and the institutions community.

This was the first time in the history of the community bloc that a leader of a member state has challenged the EU treaties before a constitutional court, thus increasing tension between Warsaw and Brussels.

Deliberated by the Polish Constitutional Court, it was then that “the EU has no competence to assess Polish justice and its functioning”, thus rejecting Brussels’ demands on the abolition of the judicial reform that the Polish Government promoted in 2015.

The verdict came after a question posed by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the prevalence of the Polish Constitution over the common European judicial body, the EU Court of Justice.

Earlier, in early September, the European Commission asked the EU Court of Justice to impose a fine on Poland for failure to suspend the application of the provisions on powers of the Disciplinary Board of its Supreme Court.

“When it comes to infringement cases, it is very rare and exceptional for the Commission to request such sanctions against a Member State”, Didier Reynders tells Lusa.

The EU Court of Justice’s response to the request for financial sanctions should be known shortly.

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