More than 100,000 Poles demonstrated yesterday in support of European Union membership after a court ruling that parts of EU law are incompatible with Poland’s constitution raised concerns the country could eventually leave the bloc.
oliticians across Europe voiced dismay at the ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal on Thursday, which they saw as undercutting the legal pillar on which the 27-nation EU stands.
According to the organisers, protests took place in more than 100 towns and cities across Poland and several cities abroad, with 80,000-100,000 people gathering in the capital Warsaw alone, waving Polish and EU flags and shouting “we are staying”.
Donald Tusk, a former head of the European Council and now leader of the main opposition party Civic Platform, said the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s policies were jeopardising Poland’s future in Europe.
“We know why they want to leave (the EU)… so that they can violate democratic rules with impunity,” he said in Warsaw, surrounded by thousands of protesters.
PiS says it has no plans for a “Polexit”.
But right-wing populist governments in Poland and Hungary have found themselves increasingly at odds with the European Commission over issues from LGBT+ rights to judicial independence.
“Just as Brexit suddenly became a fact, something no-one expected, the same thing can happen here,” said Janusz Kuczynski (59), standing in a street in Warsaw’s historic district leading up to the Royal Castle.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki welcomed the court ruling last Thursday.