Poles rally to defend the EU membership they fear losing

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Poles gathered in cities across the country on Sunday to show support for the EU after the country’s constitutional court ruled this week that the Polish constitution overrides some EU laws.

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Donald Tusk, the top opposition leader in Poland and a former EU leader, called for the protest, presenting it as an attempt to defend Poland’s continued membership in the 27-nation EU.

“We have to save Poland, no one will do that for us,” Tusk said.

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TVN24, an all-news broadcaster, broadcast scenes of crowds gathering in Warsaw, Krakow, Pozna and other cities with EU and Polish flags. In Warsaw, whose mayor is from Tusk’s Civic Platform Party, EU and Polish flags were hoisted from street posts and city buses before the evening rally.

In Poland, critics of the right-wing nationalist government fear that the court’s decision could eventually lead to a “Polexit” or that Poland is ultimately being forced to leave the European Union that it is defying the bloc’s laws and values.

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Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s government denies that it is seeking to leave the bloc, although top members of the ruling party have recently used language that may have been aimed at them.

EU membership is hugely popular in Poland, which brought new freedoms to travel and a dramatic economic transformation in the Central European nation, which had endured decades of communist rule until 1989.

The court’s decision, which was issued on Thursday by a court loyal to the nationalist government, is a dramatic challenge to the primacy of EU law.

In a legal decision requested by Poland’s prime minister, the tribunal said on Thursday that the Polish constitution has primacy over EU laws in some respects. In March, Morawiecki called for a review after the European Court of Justice ruled that Poland’s new rules for the appointment of Supreme Court judges could violate EU law and ordered the right-wing government to suspend them.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Donald Tusk

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