Poland could be hit with sanctions over court ruling

The European Union’s executive is expecting the European Court of Justice to respond, possibly with sanctions, to the latest ruling of Poland’s highest court, which said some parts of the EU treaties are incompatible with the country’s constitution.

We are waiting now for new decisions of the Court of Justice about the situation in Poland, also possible daily financial sanctions,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told reporters in Brussels.

Earlier, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki welcomed the court ruling that said some parts of EU treaties are incompatible with the Polish constitution. Mr Morawiecki did so in a Facebook post yesterday.

The ruling challenges a pillar of European integration and sharply escalates a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw, with the European Commission saying it raised serious concerns.

Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) party government is embroiled in a battle of values with Brussels, focused on disputes over the independence of courts, media freedoms, LGBT rights and other issues.

The prime minister had requested the Constitutional Tribunal to rule on whether EU law has primacy over the Polish constitution.

“We want a community of respect and not a grouping of those who are equal and more equal. This is our community, our Union,” Mr Morawiecki said in the Facebook post. He was making reference to the European Union.

“This is the kind of union we want and that’s the kind of Union we will create.”

He also said that Poland wants to stay in the “European family of nations”.

Critics have said that by going further and challenging the supremacy of EU law, the PiS government not only jeopardises Poland’s long-term future in the 27-nation bloc but also the stability of the EU itself.

Reacting to the move, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the Polish government is playing with fire.

“The development in Poland is very, very concerning. We have to state clearly that this government in Poland is playing with fire,” Mr Asselborn said as he arrived for an EU meeting in Luxembourg.

“The primacy of European law is essential for the integration of Europe and living together in Europe. If this principle is broken, Europe as we know it, as it has been built with the Rome treaties, will cease to exist.”

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