A Polish high court on Wednesday launched a direct challenge to the authority of the EU Court of Justice, raising fears that Warsaw is increasingly seeing itself outside the EU legal order.
In its decision, the Constitutional Court of Poland said that the implementation of the measures of the Court of Justice affecting the judiciary is unconstitutional.
“A decisive step towards legal Polex,” Wojciech Sadurski, a constitutional law specialist at the University of Sydney, wrote on Twitter in response to the Polish ruling, describing it as “sad”.
The move comes at a time of growing frustration in Brussels over the bloc’s fight to deal with backlog concerns in several member states, including Poland.
The EU is facing political pressure to cut funding in Warsaw over rule of law issues.
Poland’s decision was announced just hours after the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice issued an interim injunction ordering Poland to suspend laws governing a Polish supervisory board that was given authority over several cases related to the country’s Supreme Court. .
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the man in charge of efforts to review the judiciary in Poland, welcomed the decision.
“Constitution and normality prevailed over attempts by EU bodies to intervene politically in the Polish legal order,” he wrote on Twitter.
In Brussels, the contradictory decisions added to fears that Warsaw was breaking away from its core responsibilities as a member of the bloc.
The alarm echoed in all of Europe’s major political families.
“I am very concerned about the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court,” wrote Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party group. “This should serve as a warning to all Poles who are truly pro-European and want a European future for their children and grandchildren: your government is clearly on the path to Polex,” he said.
Terry Reintke, deputy leader of the Greens in Parliament, said “we must uphold the primacy of EU law”.
There was no immediate reaction from the Commission on Wednesday’s developments.
On Tuesday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for a wide-ranging discussion, which she described as a “good exchange”.
The prime minister had asked the Constitutional Tribunal to review the constitutionality of certain parts of the EU treaties, but a court hearing scheduled for Thursday to continue an ongoing review of the case has been postponed to August 3rd.
Last month, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders asked the Polish authorities in a letter to withdraw Morawiecki’s motion.
The Commission is “reserving its right to initiate appropriate procedures under the Treaties when necessary,” he said.
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