U: Expert discusses Poland’s court fines
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Poland is unlikely to u-turn over its blazing row with the EU after the Court of Justice yesterday rejected an appeal against a €1million-a-day (£845,000) fine imposed by the Commission. And the ramifications could send major ripples across Europe, with echoes of the UK’s vote in leave the bloc in 2016.
Issuing its ruling, the court said: “The principle of the primacy of EU law establishes the pre-eminence of EU law over the law of the member states.
“That principle therefore requires all member state bodies to give full effect to the various EU provisions.”
The fine is mounting daily and if Poland refuses to pay up, Brussels will be foreced withhold budget appropriations.
But this could have major repurcussions, experts have warned.
Journalist Wolfgang Muncheau wrote: “If Polexit happens, then yesterday’s CJEU ruling will be regarded as the moment of no return: the moment when the diplomatic solution to this conflict died.”
Political impasses between the EU and other nations are far from rare. Typically the bloc opts to use diplomacy rather than full confrontation, but with Poland, a different strategy has been undertaken.
Tensions have escalated since Poland’s constitutional court ruled parts of EU law are incompatible with its constitution.
The five-year feud delighted Polish officials including the PM but ignited fury among EU member states with some calling the move a step towards Polexit.
Many high-ranking EU officials have called on EU institutions to financially coerce Poland into kowtowing to the EU – by withholding needed Covid recovery funds.
Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki warned the bloc taking such action would risk sparking “World War Three” and cautioned the EU about making demands of the country with a “gun to our head”. The nation’s leader also vowed to “defend our rights with any weapons which are at our disposal”.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now taken the argument one step further and hit the country with €1m a day fines.
The EU’s top court said the move, acted against calls to ease tensions from caretaker German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was necessary to avoid “serious harm” to the bloc’s legal order.
The bloc has accused Poland of posing an existential threat to Brussels and of undermining democratic standards by attempting to usurp political control of the nation’s supreme court.
The ECJ added the move by Poland could unleash irreparable harm to the values upon which the Union was founded, particularly the rule of law.
The hefty penalty was immediately denounced as “blackmail” by Polish Government spokesman Piotr Muller.
Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta said the ruling “completely disregards and ignores the Polish constitution and the rulings of the Polish constitutional tribunal”.
Earlier this month, the Polish leader told the European Parliament this month it was “unacceptable to talk about financial penalties”.
Mr Morawiecki also accused the EU of overstepping its powers.
EU row erupts over risk Poland to defy ECJ €1 million-a-day fine [INSIGHT]
Poland to double size of army as threats from imperial Russia continue [EXPLAINER]
EU warned Poland feud has ‘great potential of escalating’ [ANALYSIS]
Will Warsaw cave to Brussels demands?
The €1m fine a day is unprecedented, in size and scope and the running total is around €20m at the time of writing.
If Poland refuses to pay, the bloc will withhold corresponding budget appropriations to enforce its ruling.
The fine is currently small compared to the Covid recovery fund money expected from the EU. which will include €24bn in grants plus a further €12bn in loans.
But it is likely the EU will also try to withhold these funds too – trying to financially coerce Poland on the two fronts.
Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the Polish leader was “playing with fire when waging war with our European colleagues for internal political reasons”.
Mr Morawiecki yesterday refused to respond to the court’s decision – but junior ministers were quick to share their outrage.
The Government is likely working on a joint response – one which will likely fortify Poland’s judicial and political rights while also ensuring it maintains its desire to remain part of the bloc.
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda on Wednesday and according to reports, the French leaders discussed the ongoing rule of law issue.
Mr Macron expressed concerns about Polish judiciary independence and stressed the importance of continuing “dialogue” with Mr Duda.
EU approval ratings are high across Poland – mainly due in large part to financial flows which have seen the bloc help boost the economy.
However, the EU’s popularity could take a swift downturn if these finances are disrupted.
Poland is not only facing tension with the EU – but also plans to double the strength of its armed forces in response to the growing threat from Russia.
Warsaw said it needed a “serious and independent deterrent force” of its own because Nato might be unable to mobile swiftly enough if Moscow were to act out aggressively.
The nation’s Deputy Prime Minister said: “The situation has worsened.
“We have a hybrid war, provocations, the Russian army and Russia’s imperial ambitions.”
Source: Read Full Article