EU Parliament threatens to SUE Ursula Von Der Leyen in Polish legal row

The EU’s Parliament has threatened to sue Ursula Von Der Leyen if she refuses to withhold funding from Poland amid an more and more bitter row over the rule of legislation.

David Sassoli, parliament’s president, stated legal professionals have been instructed to ‘put together a lawsuit towards the [EU] Commission’ – which Ms Von Der Leyen heads – ‘to guarantee guidelines are correctly enforced.’

Mr Sassoli, an Italian politician who was elected parliament’s president in 2019, spoke out as nationwide leaders from the bloc’s 27 member states convene in Brussels at the moment for 2 days of talks with Poland set to be prime of the agenda.

Backing Mr Sassoli are EU heavyweights equivalent to France and the Netherlands, together with smaller states equivalent to Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is relying largely on Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban for assist, although outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the EU towards isolating Poland and urged compromise.

The row was sparked when Poland’s prime constitutional courtroom dominated that legal guidelines made inside the nation take priority over legal guidelines written in Brussels – a significant problem to the EU’s founding rules.

Ms Von Der Leyen is now dealing with stress to withhold £48billion in EU Covid recovery funding that’s earmarked for Poland except the federal government falls again into line. 

Von der Leyen stated she was ‘deeply involved’, including that ‘we can’t and won’t enable our widespread values to be put in danger’

Mateusz Morawiecki informed the parliament in Strasbourg that Poland wouldn’t bow to ‘European centralism’ and that the structure of a rustic was the best legislation on the Continent

The row between Poland and the EU 

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki got here beneath repeated criticism throughout a tense debate in the European Parliament on Tuesday, with Ursula Von der Leyen telling Warsaw that its problem to the supremacy of EU legislation wouldn’t go unpunished.

Relations between Poland and the EU have been rocky for years and reached a brand new low earlier this month after the tribunal dominated that Polish legal guidelines take priority over these of the 27-nation bloc, which Poland joined in 2004. 

The ruling escalated lingering tensions over democratic requirements between Poland’s right-wing nationalist authorities and EU establishments in Brussels. 

The dispute is basically over modifications to the Polish judicial system which give the ruling get together extra energy over the courts. Polish authorities say they search to reform a corrupt and inefficient justice system. 

The European Commission believes the modifications erode the nation’s democratic system of checks and balances. 

Ultimately, on the coronary heart of the row is the question of who ought to have essentially the most energy inside the bloc – every particular person nation over its residents or the EU establishments over the member nations. It was the prime mover behind the exit of Britain from the EU, and it has stirred passions in a number of Eastern and Central European nations like Poland and Hungary.

The entire thought behind the EU is {that a} united entrance will make the 27 nations a formidable energy in the world, whereas they’d be bystanders simply as particular person international locations. But even when member states are comfortable to see that energy used in worldwide relations, some abhor it when it impacts them.

Morawiecki described Poland as a nation that’s being intimidated and attacked by an EU whose prime courtroom points rulings that goal to take increasingly energy away from its nations. He insisted that the EU should stay a union of sovereign states till all its members agree by treaty to quit extra of their very own nationwide powers.

‘We at the moment are seeing a creeping revolution going down by means of verdicts of the European Court of Justice,’ he stated.    

Morawiecki defended his nation’s stance that the best legislation in Poland is the nation’s structure. He insisted that Poland abides by EU treaties and dismissed remark from opponents of his authorities who concern that the courtroom’s ruling has put the nation on a path to a potential exit from the EU.

Morawiecki additionally stated he sees double requirements in the EU rulings on Poland’s modifications to its judiciary, noting that every nation has its personal judicial system, with politicians electing judges in some circumstances. 

The Polish tribunal majority ruling – in response to a case introduced by Morawiecki – stated Poland’s EU membership didn’t give the European Court of Justice supreme legal authority and didn’t imply that Poland had shifted its legal sovereignty to the EU.

Morawiecki requested for the review after the European Court of Justice dominated in March that Poland’s new rules for appointing judges to the Supreme Court may violate EU legislation. The ruling obliged Poland’s authorities to discontinue the principles that gave politicians affect over judicial appointments. To date, Poland has not complied.

Last month, the European Commission requested the European Court of Justice to impose day by day fines on Poland till it improves the functioning of the Polish Supreme Court and suspends the legal guidelines that have been deemed to undermine judicial independence.

Morawiecki informed EU lawmakers through the debate {that a} disputed disciplinary chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court will probably be closed, as a result of it didn’t meet expectations, with out providing a transparent timeline.

Ms Von Der Leyen may additionally take the difficulty to the EU’s prime courtroom, the European Court of Justice, to get hold of a ruling that Poland is in violation of EU legal guidelines.

If the courtroom guidelines in her favour, then it may well levy day by day fines till Poland returns to compliance. If Poland refuses to pay, then it may well withhold funds.

Ms Von Der Leyen may additionally strive to strip Poland of voting rights inside EU establishments, however she would wish the assist of the bloc’s 26 different leaders – with Hungary possible to block the transfer.

The row is simply the newest disaster to rock the EU since Britain voted to go away in 2016, in giant half due to issues over sovereignty.

It has sparked issues over a so-called ‘Polexit’, which observers have warned might lead to the wholesale collapse of the European project.

Poland – an ex-Communist nation the place assist for the EU is excessive amongst voters – is unlikely to vote to go away the EU as Britain did, however many concern it may trigger a collapse from inside by difficult the bloc’s founding rules.

Mr Morawiecki has denied attempting to break up the bloc, saying he isn’t difficult the EU’s legal guidelines themselves – solely interpretations of them.

Poland and Hungary are bitterly opposed to agreements negotiated final year because the EU’s £1.5trillion Covid recovery funds was agreed, which linked the funding to imposing legal guidelines equivalent to equality and human rights laws.

Both international locations are led by right-wing populist events who’ve been concerned in long-running spats with the EU over the independence of courts, freedom of the press, and LGBT rights. 

In a fiery speech to the European Parliament earlier this week, Mr Morawiecki accused the EU of ‘blackmail’ over the recovery funds which he stated poses a menace to the union.

But Ms Von Der Leyen struck again. Referring to the autumn of Communism in Poland in 1989, she stated: ‘The folks of Poland wished democracy … they wished the liberty to select their authorities, they wished free speech and free media, they wished an finish to corruption and so they wished unbiased courts to defend their rights.

‘This is what Europe is about and that’s what Europe stands for,’ she added. ‘The current ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court places a lot of it into question.’ 

Last week, the Polish Constitutional Court dominated that EU legislation was incompatible with elements of the nation’s structure.

Morawiecki insisted that there was no purpose why this could drive a wedge between Warsaw and Brussels, however maintained that he wouldn’t budge on the difficulty.

‘The EU is not going to disintegrate just because our legal techniques will probably be completely different,’ he stated, including: ‘If you need to make a non-national superstate out of Europe, first get the consent of all of the European states and societies.’ 

Meanwhile, he praised the ‘sturdy political and economical organism’ of the Bloc, displaying the complicated position his get together is looking for to straddle because it grapples with Brussels, whereas up to 80 per cent of Poles again being a part of the EU. 

He additionally rejected any suggestion that the nation was on a pathway to ‘Polexit,’ following in Britain’s footsteps. 

‘We shouldn’t be spreading additional lies about Poland leaving the EU,’ he stated.

‘For us, European integration is a civilisational and strategic selection,’ he stated. ‘We are right here, we belong right here and we’re not going wherever.’ 

He stated that Western international locations, particularly France and Germany, had benefited enormously from the doorway of jap states into the Bloc.

However, he stated that the West-East divide had resulted in first and second lessons inside the EU, with member states like Poland given brief shrift.

‘Today all Europeans, count on one factor. They need us to face up to the challenges posed by a number of crises on the similar time, and never towards one another, on the lookout for somebody to blame – or quite, those that are usually not actually to blame, however whom it’s handy to blame,’ he stated.

‘We can’t stay silent when our nation – together with in this Chamber – is attacked in an unfair and biased method.’

The PM stated that Poland was a ‘proud nation’ and wouldn’t be cowed by threats of monetary penalties which have been tantamount to ‘blackmail.’ 

‘I reject the language of threats, hazing and coercion,’ Morawiecki stated.

Morawiecki additionally criticised the ‘creeping’ growth of EU powers, with explicit regard to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Von der Leyen warned that Poland’s constitutional ruling ‘is a direct problem to the unity of the European legal order.’ 

Earlier this month, Poland’s Constitutional Court (pictured) dominated that EU treaties have been incompatible with the Polish structure, placing Warsaw and Brussels on a full collision course

She stated a primary choice is so-called infringements, the place the Commission legally challenges the Polish courtroom’s judgment, which could lead on to fines.

Another choice is a conditionality mechanism and different monetary instruments whereby EU funds can be withheld from Poland.

Until Warsaw’s conflict with Brussels is resolved, it’s unlikely to see any of the 23.9 billion euros in grants and 12.1 billion in low cost loans that it utilized for as a part of the EU’s recovery fund after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU may even block Polish entry to EU grants for improvement and structural initiatives in the 2021-2027 funds price round 70 billion euros.

Von der Leyen stated a 3rd choice is the application of Article 7 of the EU’s treaties. Under this, rights of member states – together with the correct to vote on EU choices – will be suspended as a result of they’ve breached core values of the bloc. 

Morawiecki, talking after her in the EU meeting, accused the bloc of overstepping its authority.

‘EU competencies have clear boundaries, we should not stay silent when these boundaries are breached. So we’re saying sure to European universalism, however we are saying no to European centralism,’ he stated.

A succession of members of the parliament then stood up to castigate the Polish chief, whereas some EU ministers gathering for a meeting in Luxembourg joined the refrain of criticism. 

Morawiecki ended up working over his allotted talking time, prompting warnings from Parliament Vice President Pedro Silva Pereira.

‘You will take be aware that I used to be extraordinarily versatile with the allotted time in order that no one can say that you did not have time sufficient to give explanations to the European Parliament,’ Pereira informed the PM. 

‘But respect of the allotted time can also be a approach of displaying respect for this home of the European democracy.’ 

Why some concern a ‘Polexit’ from European Union 

Poland will probably be a spotlight of European consideration this week, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addressing the European Parliament and leaders at a European Union summit anticipated to grapple with a legal conundrum created by a current ruling by Poland’s constitutional courtroom.

Some opponents of Poland’s nationalist authorities concern that the courtroom’s ruling has put the nation on a path to a potential ‘Polexit,’ or a departure from the 27-nation EU like Britain did with Brexit. The authorities denounces these spreading the thought, which it calls ‘pretend information.’ Here is a have a look at the differing views on the matter – and why Poland’s departure from the bloc is unlikely.


Poland’s authorities, which is led by the conservative Law and Justice get together, has been in battle with EU officers in Brussels because it took energy in 2015. The dispute is basically over modifications to the Polish judicial system which give the ruling get together extra energy over the courts. Polish authorities say they search to reform a corrupt and inefficient justice system. The European Commission believes the modifications erode the nation’s democratic system of checks and balances.


As the standoff over the judiciary has grown extra tense, with the Commission threatening to withhold billions of euros in pandemic recovery funds to Poland over it, ruling get together leaders have generally in contrast the EU to the Soviet Union, Poland’s occupying energy through the Cold War.

Ryszard Terlecki, the get together’s deputy chief, stated final month that if issues do not go the way in which Poland likes, ‘we may have to seek for drastic options.’ Referring to Brexit, he additionally stated: ‘The British confirmed that the dictatorship of the Brussels forms didn’t go well with them and circled and left.’

Marek Suski, one other main get together member, stated Poland ‘will combat the Brussels occupier’ simply because it fought the Nazi and Soviet occupiers in the previous. ‘Brussels sends us overlords who’re supposed to carry Poland to order, to put us on our knees, in order that we could be a German state, and never a proud state of free Poles,’ he declared.


This month Poland’s constitutional courtroom challenged the notion that EU legislation supersedes the legal guidelines of its 27 member nations with a ruling saying that some EU legal guidelines are incompatible with the nation’s personal structure.

That resolution – made by a courtroom dominated by ruling get together loyalists – offers the Polish authorities the justification it had sought to ignore directives from the European Union’s Court of Justice which it would not like – significantly on issues of judicial independence.

The ruling marks one other main check for the EU after years of managing its messy divorce from the U.Ok.


Polish leaders say it is absurd to suppose they need to go away the EU and so they accuse the opposition of enjoying with the thought of ‘Polexit’ for political acquire.

Morawiecki, the prime minister, stated final week that the opposition ‘is attempting to insinuate that we would like to weaken Poland and the European Union by leaving the EU. This is clearly not solely pretend information, it’s even worse. It is just a lie that’s made to weaken the EU.’

Morawiecki spoke quickly after Poland’s main opposition chief, Donald Tusk, a former EU chief, organized mass nationwide protests voicing assist for Poland remaining in the EU.


The EU has no legal mechanism to expel a member. That means for Polexit to occur, it will have to be triggered by Warsaw. At the second, the thought appears farfetched, as a result of EU membership in Poland is extraordinarily standard, with surveys displaying greater than 80% of Poles favor being in the bloc.

When Poland entered the EU in 2004, Poles gained new freedoms to journey and work throughout the EU and a dramatic financial transformation was set in movement that has benefited thousands and thousands.

Yet some Poles nonetheless concern that might change. They fear that if new EU funds are withheld from Poland over rule of legislation disputes, Poles would possibly finally come to really feel that it is not in their profit to belong to the bloc.

Some merely concern a political accident alongside the strains of what occurred with Britain’s departure from the EU. The former British prime minister who known as for a referendum on EU membership, David Cameron, had sought to have the nation stay in the bloc. He known as for the vote to settle the matter, believing Britons would vote to keep. A majority in 2016 didn’t, and Cameron shortly resigned. 

Reporting by AP 

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