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Tags: Europe | Poland

EU Top Official Says Polish Ruling Is a Threat to the Bloc

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 04:01 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union top official said on Tuesday that the recent ruling from Poland’s constitutional court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the bloc's foundations.

Addressing EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she is deeply concerned by the ruling, which she said is “a direct challenge to the unity of the EU" and undermines the protection of judicial independence.

“We cannot and will not allow our common values to be put at risk," Von der Leyen said. “The rule of law is the glue that binds our union together."

Relations between Poland and the EU reached a new low earlier this month after the tribunal ruled that Polish laws take precedence over those of the 27-nation bloc, which Poland joined in 2004, escalating lingering tensions over democratic standards between the country’s right-wing nationalist government and Brussels institutions.

The split came to a head at the plenary of the European Parliament, where Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will also deliver a speech later Tuesday.

At heart is the question who should have the most power within the 27-nation bloc — each individual nation over their citizens or the EU institutions over the member nations. It was the prime mover behind the exit of Britain from the EU, and it has stirred passions in several eastern and central European nations like Poland and Hungary.

The whole idea behind the EU is that a united front will make the 27 nations a formidable power in the world, while they would be bystanders as individual countries. And even if member states are happy to see that power used in international relations, some abhor it when it affects them.

Depending on how the Polish government decides to use the latest ruling, the commission has further financial options at its disposal to try to make Warsaw comply with EU law, notably by continuing to hold up the country’s access to billions of euros in European money to help revive its economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The commission could also activate a mechanism allowing the suspension of payments of EU money to a member country breaching the principles of the rule of law in a way that affects the bloc's budget or financial interests.

“We want a strong Poland in a united Europe," von der Leyen said, adding that she is open to comprise.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


GlobalTalk
The European Union top official said on Tuesday that the recent ruling from Poland's constitutional court challenging the supremacy of EU laws is a threat to the bloc's foundations.Addressing EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen...
Europe,Poland
401
2021-01-19
Tuesday, 19 October 2021 04:01 AM
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