In principle, the following applies to all EU countries: European law weighs most heavily in decisions. This means that the judgments of the European Court of Justice are binding and take precedence over national law.
But Poland now wants to get rid of it. At the request of the Prime Minister, the Court examines whether the constitution itself should govern the legality of decisions. In short, Poland does not want the European Union to interfere with the legality of Polish decisions.
Poland in particular has often been reprimanded by the European Court in recent years, explains Michiel Luining, researcher at the University of Antwerp.
In March, the European Union said the appointment of judges in Poland smacked of politics. The independence of the judges was at stake. The Polish Prime Minister wants European law to say nothing about it, that it can be considered legitimate on the basis of the Polish constitution. “
After the ruling on the Polish judges, the Polish Minister of Justice said that the EU “is trying to destroy the sovereignty of the member states”.
According to Luining, the Poles do not have a ‘Pol exit’, the wish to leave the EU. “Poland is now trying to legally cut off from the EU, but would like to stay with the EU. They benefit from EU subsidies and are protected by the EU from Russia. “
It’s essentially a game of poker, says Luining, with Poland pushing the boundaries. “They want to determine their own rule of law and belong to the EU.”
There is no doubt that the Polish court will conclude that the constitution should have supreme authority. The judges of the tribunal were placed there by the government itself.
Same rules for everyone
This represents a fundamental turning point in the European Union, says Luining. “Collaborations will become impossible if one of the EU member states uses different legal standards. Can the Netherlands still extradite suspects to Poland, for example? And what do other countries do when they see that the same rules don’t apply to everyone?
Germany also critical
It is not only Poland which disagrees with the European Union on this point. Germany has also recently angered the EU. The German Constitutional Court recently ruled that the European Central Bank’s debt buyback program was not working properly.
According to the EU, this would put German national law above EU law. The Poles are taking advantage of the quarrel between Germany and the EU on this point to show that they too should be able to judge according to their own rights.
The European Union has already launched Article 7 proceedings against Poland. This means that the EU believes that the rule of law is threatened in Poland. Luining: “Poland’s voting rights can be taken away, but what matters are financial penalties.”
Action against Poland
For a long time, these punitive measures could not be imposed. All member states were to be unanimous in such a decision, but Hungary blocked the sanctions. Because Hungary is also arguing with the EU over the interpretation of its own rule of law. The EU is now examining whether Member States can be sanctioned in other ways as well.
The Dutch parliament, among others, called on the EU to take action against Poland.