EU in crisis after Polish court ruling

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“We must make it clear that this government in Poland is playing with fire,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said upon his arrival for a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.

“The primacy of European law is essential for the integration of Europe and living together in Europe. If this principle is violated, Europe as we know it, as it was built with the Treaties of Rome, will cease to exist.

The internal Poland-EU crisis comes even as Poland faces the external challenge of the flow of migrants from the Middle East to its borders through Belarus. The Belarusian government is angry with the EU for imposing sanctions after Minsk cracked down on political dissidents who oppose the regime of strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

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Brussels officials have said Thursday’s court ruling could result in a series of fines and lawsuits against Warsaw that will take months, if not years, to unfold.

The PiS says it has no ‘Polexit’ plan and, unlike Britain before its Brexit referendum in 2016, popular support for EU membership is high in Poland.

Poland’s membership of the bloc since 2004 has contributed to one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. With an increasingly assertive Russia pissing off some central and eastern European states that were decades under Communist rule, many Poles see the EU as an essential part of national security.

But, welcoming the court ruling, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that every member state should be treated with respect and that the EU should not be “a grouping of those who are equal and more equal”.

The Constitutional Court took up the case after Morawiecki asked it if the EU institutions could prevent Poland from reorganizing its judicial system.

A Eurobarometer survey carried out in June and July 2021 showed that almost twice as many Poles trust the EU as their own national government.

“I think (…) that there is a risk that we can get out of the EU, because all these actions that are happening can lead to this step by step,” said Warsaw retiree Grazyna Gulbinowicz.

“I think it would have a very negative impact on our overall situation, because things are not easy and without European funds it will be even more difficult, not to mention that we will feel isolated.” ($ 1 = 3.9872 zlotys)

Reuters

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