Polish PM clashes with EU chief over supremacy of bloc’s laws

Mateusz Morawiecki  

The European Union’s top official locked horns on Tuesday with Poland’s Prime Minister, arguing that a recent ruling from the country’s constitutional court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the bloc’s foundations and won’t be left unanswered.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Mateusz Morawiecki laid bare their differences of opinion on rule-of-law principles during a heated debate with EU lawmakers.

Ms. Von der Leyen accused Mr. Morawiecki of trying to run away and escape the debate on the primacy of European law. He, in turn, insisted that Poles are in favour of the “power of the rule of law” and “don’t believe in blackmail or paternalistic attitudes” toward their country.

Relations between Poland and the EU have been rocky for years and reached a new low this month after the tribunal ruled that Polish laws take precedence over those of the 27-nation bloc — which Poland joined in 2004 — escalating lingering tensions over democratic standards between the country’s right-wing nationalist government and EU institutions.

In her introduction, Ms. Von der Leyen said the Polish ruling challenges “the unity of the European legal order” and undermines the protection of judicial independence.

At the heart of the dispute is the question of who should have the most power within the 27-nation bloc — each individual nation over its citizens or the EU institutions over the member nations. It was the prime mover behind the exit of Britain from the EU, and it has stirred passions in several eastern and central European nations like Poland and Hungary.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 12:48:25 AM |

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