Recently, the Polish government’s legal dispute with the EU has been under intense scrutiny. These kinds of events tend to be a natural phenomena in the realm of European politics, but this clash has led many to question whether this is the last straw for the EU after numerous clashes with the Polish government. The last straw in question was when on October 7th the Polish Supreme Court ruled that Article 1, 2, 4.3 and Article 19 of the Treaty on Europe were “incompatible” with the Polish constitution.
What followed was the EU reconsidering the approval of €57 billion in recovery funds from COVID-19 destined to Poland, after they regarded the ruling as inherently undermining European law. This led the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to accuse the EU of “blackmailing” Poland. Alternatively, many European leaders have called on Poland to fall back in line with core European Values. The Irish Prime Minister, Micheal Martin, for instance, has expressed his disappointment regarding Poland’s ruling and highlighted the importance of European law as being “critical”. Notably, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has said that “the independence of the Polish judiciary is the key issue we have to discuss. It is very difficult to see how a big new fund of money could be made available to Poland when this is not settled”, concerning the recovery funds in question. Viktor Orbán – Prime Minister of Hungary -, on the other hand, has decisively sided with Poland.
This has undeniably put the European Union in a very difficult situation. Many have considered Article 7 of the EU as a possible solution to the issue, which will suspend Poland’s voting rights in the European Council, but with the Hungarian government’s support for Poland, this does not look like an option. It is relevant to keep in mind that amongst the sea of current and past disagreements between the EU and Poland – including but not limited to Poland’s LGBT free zone issue -, Poland and several Poles do not want a “Polexit”.
The PiS, the current Polish ruling party, itself, has no plans for an eventual exit from the EU. On October 10th, well over 100,000 Poles took to the streets to protest out of fear of Poland being kicked out from the Union.
In conclusion, what the Polish-EU collision has shown is a clear political division regarding the level of prevalence EU laws should have over national laws between European leaders, as well as having highlighted the contrasting interests within the EU.
But what do you think? Was this clash meant to be inevitable? Was the Polish Supreme court’s ruling justified? What should the EU do now? What will this mean for Europe? These are all questions YOU can answer by submitting your own ideas and articles on the topic to BAISmag. We also welcome articles from our fellow students where you can be the one covering news locally, nationwide and across the globe.
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