In the bitter dispute over the rule of law in Poland, the EU summit in Brussels did not find a solution. The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki did not show any concession on the matter yesterday.
“The basic values of the European Union are non-negotiable,” emphasized Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) at his first EU summit in his new role. Schallenberg warned Warsaw: “Poland must take the financial threat that is there very seriously,” he said before the start of the EU summit in Brussels. “There can be no cherry-picking values,” added the Chancellor. The primacy of Community law is “a building principle of the internal market”.
Chancellor sees “cognitive dissonance”
Schallenberg attested the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki a “cognitive dissonance”, as he first recognized the primacy of EU law and then denied it. Schallenberg was accompanied to Brussels by European Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP), who is holding several bilateral meetings in the EU capital.
“The rule of law is at the core of the European Union,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “On the other hand, we have to find ways and possibilities to come together again here.” A cascade of legal disputes before the European Court of Justice is not yet a solution to the problem. Merkel was alluding to the fact that the EU Commission has sued Poland several times before the European Court of Justice, among other things because of the judicial reforms.
The background to the current dispute is a ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court in Warsaw, according to which parts of EU law are incompatible with Poland’s constitution. This decision is viewed by the EU Commission and a number of other states as extremely problematic because it could give the Polish government an excuse to ignore its unpleasant judgments of the European Court of Justice.
In addition, the national conservative government in Poland has been criticized for years for its judicial reforms. The EU Commission sees the independence of Polish judges at risk. On Tuesday, Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen and Morawiecki had a violent exchange of blows in the European Parliament.