“Then Europe as we know it will no longer exist”

The decision of the Polish Constitutional Court that parts of EU law are incompatible with the Polish constitution caused quite a stir. No member state of the EU has ever made such a declaration of war – not even the British, who have left the community but never questioned its foundations.

The EU Commission was therefore “deeply concerned”. Brussels wants to use “all means” to ensure that EU law is respected in Poland, announced EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. The principle that EU law takes precedence over national law and decisions of the EU judiciary are binding is a central element of the confederation of states.

The French EU State Secretary Clement Beaune also described the decision as an “attack against the EU”. “There is a risk of Poland’s de facto exit from the EU.” European Minister Karoline Edtstadler described the judgment as “dramatic”. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called it “very worrying”. The Polish government is playing with fire. “The primacy of European law is essential for coexistence in Europe. If this principle is broken, Europe as we know it and as it was built with the Treaty of Rome will cease to exist,” warned Asselborn. Former EU Council President Donald Tusk does not want to accept that Poland’s constitutional court has declared parts of EU law to be incompatible with the national constitution. “I call on everyone who wants to defend a European Poland to come to Palace Square in Warsaw on Sunday,” he wrote on Twitter. “Only together can we stop them.” Tusk is the acting chairman of Poland’s largest opposition party, the liberal-conservative Civic Platform.

A tough reaction from Brussels could cost Poland dearly. The country is by far the biggest beneficiary of EU funds; Poland received twelve billion euros in 2019 alone. In addition, Warsaw has applied for 24 billion euros in non-repayable grants from the Corona reconstruction fund, plus a further twelve billion in loans.

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