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EU: expert fears Poland will be “marginalized”

Poland’s future position in the EU has been called into question following a series of legal battles. The country is ruled by the Eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has repeatedly acted to undermine EU law. This week, the Polish Constitutional Court – its highest court – adjourned its case on the compatibility of provisions of EU law with the country’s constitution.

As proceedings resume later this week, the move will likely further exacerbate the relationship crisis.

Warsaw claims that the European Commission is committing unwarranted interference in Poland’s internal affairs.

Yet critics say questioning the rule of EU law undermines the operation of the bloc and, vitally, jeopardizes Poland’s membership.

It is unlikely that this concerns the PiS and its members who occupy the positions of prime minister and openly anti-Brussels president.

EU news: bloc involved in dispute with Poland (Image: GETTY)

Mateusz Morawiecki: Polish Prime Minister expressed anti-EU views

Mateusz Morawiecki: Polish Prime Minister expressed anti-EU views (Image: GETTY)

In fact, the party would probably be more than happy to withdraw Poland’s participation in the bloc given the previous rhetoric of its members.

Last year, PiS Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński expressed fears that Poland would lose its “sovereignty” to the benefit of the EU, which was a deciding factor in Britain’s Brexit vote.

He said that accepting rule of law conditions in the country’s budget would be a “loss of sovereignty for our country”.

If the PiS acted on such an argument, the EU’s influence over it and the surrounding region could slowly crumble.

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Ursula von der Leyen: VDL and Morawiecki photographed together

Ursula von der Leyen: VDL and Morawiecki photographed together (Image: GETTY)

Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sent a letter to the EU threatening to veto its 2021-2027 budget if access to EU funds were made conditional on governments’ compliance with the Rule of law.

Eventually, Brussels succumbed to the demands of Poland and Hungary, both having managed to avoid the threat of losing EU funds due to rule of law violations.

However, these diversions are only temporary.

At the last hearing, Krzysztof Szczucki of the Legislative Center of the Government told the court: “The constitution occupies the highest position in the hierarchy of legal acts.

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Hungary: Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Hungary: Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Image: GETTY)

Jarosław Kaczyński: The party president co-founded Law and Justice in 2001 with his twin brother

Jarosław Kaczyński: The party president co-founded Law and Justice in 2001 with his twin brother (Image: GETTY)

“It was not possible to delegate to an authority outside the state the competence to take decisions which infringe the constitution.”

Ultimately, PiS argues that the EU is interfering with Poland’s right to make its own laws by challenging reforms, thus undermining the country’s decision-making process.

In March, Morawiecki asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the primacy of the Polish constitution.

The country has experienced a few years of turbulence in its relations with the EU, apart from the constitutional question.

Morawiecki profile: he took office in 2017

Morawiecki profile: he took office in 2017 (Image: Newspapers Express)

Politico notes that Poland and Brussels also have completely different interpretations and visions of the same things.

He said that while the EU uses terms like “money” or “funds” when discussing budgets, the PiS refers instead to “ideology”, “sovereignty” and “civilization”.

Mr Morawiecki has made several anti-EU speeches to the Polish parliament, more recently defending the budget veto in which he compared the bloc to the former Polish communist regime, denounced against the “arbitrary decisions” of the “Eurocrats” and “the European oligarchy “.

Despite government opposition to the bloc, it is well known that the EU is popular among Poles.

Politics: Many are now closely watching Poland's fight with the EU

Politics: Many are now closely watching Poland’s fight with the EU (Image: GETTY)

In the 2003 membership referendum, 74% of voters supported EU membership, and according to Politico, “they have become even more pro-EU since then”.

Since 2004, Poland has received € 127 billion net (£ 108 billion) – more than any other member country.

It is not clear how the EU will bend Poland so that it plays at its own pace.

Many note that she must do something before Poland goes too far in undermining its legitimacy and power on the continent.



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