Correspondent in Brussels
The Constitutional Court of Poland issued a ruling on Wednesday establishing that the precautionary measures issued by the Superior Court of the European Union with regard to the Polish judiciary they conflict with the Constitution of the nation and are therefore not binding. This is a measure that openly defies the principles and obligations arising from its membership of the EU and opens a new chapter in the confrontation with the European Commission and Parliament.
The Polish Ombudsman, Adam Bodnan, has gone so far as to say that the populist national government of Poland has embarked on the path to remove the country from the EU. “We are in the process of a legal ‘Polexit’ that is being carried out step by step,” said Bodnar, after the ruling.
For its part, Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council, former Polish Prime Minister and now the new leader of the opposition Civic Platform party, accused the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) of “leaving the EU.” In a message on social media, he said that “only we Poles can successfully oppose this.”
Judge the judges
The ruling published this Wednesday refers to the validity of the order of the European Court of Justice that has declared illegal the creation of a disciplinary chamber in the Supreme Court of Poland dedicated to trying judges, and ordered the immediate suspension of all their activities because they could undermine the independence of the judiciary. The Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, said that the ruling was a message “against interference, usurpation and legal aggression by organs of the European Union.”
The Constitutional Court has yet to rule more explicitly on a question referred to it by the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, which asked for a more generic pronouncement on whether or not European legislation should prevail over the Polish Constitution and it is taken for granted that the sentence will be pronounced in the same direction, preserving the primacy of Polish legislation, something that the European institutions do not they can tolerate.
The pulse between the EU and the populist Polish national government (and the Hungarian one) is taking on an unexpected tension and will probably end in a situation where there is less and less room for a friendly solution. Morawiecki had dinner the day before yesterday in Brussels with the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, but the outcome of this conversation was not reported.