A Polish court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to place EU law on the country’s domestic law, a ruling that could have dire consequences for Poland’s position within the EU.
The landmark decision was the culmination of months of speculation over a case presented by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who had previously disputed the EU’s decision that the bloc’s law should take precedence over national laws.
The head of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal stated that the operation of EU bodies “is outside the limits of the powers conferred by the Republic of Poland, which means that the Constitution of Poland is not the supreme law of the Republic of Poland, and consequently the Republic of Poland is a sovereign. and being unable to function as a democratic state is inconsistent with the Polish constitution.”
The decision for Brussels is a slap in the face amid rising tensions over the EU’s efforts to halt Polish legal reforms, which opponents say threaten the independence of the country’s judiciary.
Yet the verdict claimed that the form of the country’s judiciary was the prerogative of the Polish authorities, responsibility for which could never be transferred to EU bodies.
A majority of 12 of the tribunal’s 14 judges agreed that Poland’s EU membership should not give the EU courts the highest legal authority over the country.
This means that Poland’s United Rights government, led by the Law and Justice Party (PIS), can now claim legal justification for controversial reforms such as the establishment of a disciplinary chamber for judges, which the EU says That the Polish government has undue influence on the country. Judiciary
The EU is unlikely to back down from Polish government reforms. Only this week, the vice president of the European Court of Justice confirmed the court’s opposition to the Polish disciplinary chamber.
He also underlined the bloc’s stance that “the principle of the primacy of EU law establishes the primacy of EU law over the law of member states.”
The decision of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal explicitly contradicts this fundamental principle of EU membership, which means that there has now been an impasse where neither side recognizes the supremacy of the other.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that the EU considers itself illegitimate in Poland’s constitutional tribunal due to the influence of the government in the appointment of its judges.
The court’s decision has been delayed several times in recent months, with pro-democracy activists committing acts of civil disobedience in protest against the case. But now the ruling has sparked celebrations among government figures who have portrayed the country’s legal battle with the European Union as a struggle against foreign oppression.
“Poland has won,” one minister crowned. PiS chief Jarosaw Kaczyski meanwhile declared that placing EU law above Polish law would mean that Poland “is not a sovereign state and, therefore, Poland has no democracy”.
Opposition politicians condemned the decision, with one saying that the constitutional tribunal would “exclude us from the EU at the will of Pis and Kaczynski”.
The focus will now turn to the reaction of the European Union to this decision. Brussels’ response to the Polish court’s decision could prove crucial in determining whether the ever-increasing gap in perceptions of Poland’s legal status within the bloc has finally become irreversible.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /