European Union 'empire should be disbanded' says expert
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Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, was accused of setting his country on the “path to Polexit” by angry MEPs. Member states of the European Union must agree to a treaty provision that says EU law has primacy over national law. The final arbiter of EU law is the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, according to the membership treaties.
However, on Thursday, Poland’s Constitutional tribunal ruled that some parts of EU treaties are incompatible with the Polish constitution, thereby challenging a pillar of European integration.
The decision was welcomed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice (PiS), the largest party in Poland’s governing coalition.
He said that any different ruling would effectively mean that “Poland is not a sovereign state” and insisted that the EU had no right to interfere in the country’s administration of justice.
Piotr Muller, a government spokesman, wrote on Twitter: “The primacy of constitutional law over other sources of law results directly from the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.
“Today (once again) this has been clearly confirmed by the constitutional tribunal.”
However, critics said the tribunal’s ruling could lead to Poland’s exit from the EU.
Jeroen Lenaers, a MEP for the centre-Right European People’s Party, said: “By declaring that the EU treaties are not compatible with Polish law, the illegitimate constitutional tribunal in Poland has put the country on the path to Polexit.”
René Repasi, a professor of international and European law at Erasmus university in Rotterdam, described the ruling as a “legal revolution”.
“Admittedly it’s a captured court, but this is furthest step towards a legal exit from the EU ever taken by a national court,” he told The Guardian.
The legitimacy of the tribunal is contested by government opponents, who claim that judges have been appointed to it according to their loyalty to the ruling PiS party.
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Poland’s PiS-led government has been embroiled in a series of bitter disputes with the 27-member bloc on issues ranging from judicial reforms and media freedoms to LGBT rights.
The European Commission said the ruling raised “serious concerns” and reaffirmed that “EU law has primacy over national law, including constitutional provisions”.
The decision also raises further questions about Poland’s €57bn (£48bn) in EU recovery funds, yet to be approved by Brussels.
Daniel Freund, a German Green MEP who sits on the European parliament’s budgetary committee, said the EU “cannot transfer billions to a member state without being able to legally ensure that the money reaches those for whom it is intended.”
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