Poland hits Brussels with 7-page legal letter that could rock EU’s foundations
EU: Expert on fears of Poland being 'marginalised'
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In a seven-page letter to the European Commission, Warsaw set out numerous rulings from continental courts that argue EU law does not always have primacy. Polish European affairs minister Konrad Szymanski even listed Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, which has recently questioned a European Court of Justice judgement on the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme. The letter comes after the ECJ ruled that Poland’s disciplinary chamber of its judges was in breach of EU law.
Warsaw has since rowed back on its plans, with its Supreme Court halting the work of the chamber in a climb down to avert punishment by EU Commission.
But Poland has now argued that the ECJ should scrap its interim measures that the country’s own tribunal ruled were unconstitutional.
“The Polish government has decided to use the legal procedure… and file a request to the CJEU to revoke its decision introducing interim measures in view of the new and substantial circumstances of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal judgement that came in on the same day,” its letter reads, according to the Politico news website.
“I believe that considering this request will create an opportunity to work out a proper balance in the ECJ’s case law between the primacy of national constitutions… and the primacy of the EU law in the area of its exclusive competence.”
Mr Szymanski is seemingly arguing that the ECJ should only have powers in areas where the EU has exclusive competence.
This would allow EU courts and countries to deviate from EU law in everything except trade, competition and fisheries.
Challenges against the primacy of EU law have become more frequent in recent months.
Poland has accused the EU courts of going beyond what is allowed under the EU treaties.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party and Poland’s de facto leader, has vowed to “speed up” judicial reforms currently being challenged by Brussels.
“We will abolish the Disciplinary Chamber as it currently stands and therefore the subject of the dispute will disappear,” he added.
But the political leader insisted that the government was not acting because of the ECJ ruling but because the chamber “doesn’t fulfil its obligations”.
He added: “It will also be a test whether the EU has at least the appearance of showing goodwill.”
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Poland’s response to Brussels over the court proceedings are unlikely to defuse tensions.
Eurocrats have long argued that Warsaw’s post-communist judicial reforms are undermining the independence of judges.
Poland has stressed that its constitution is “the highest law”, insisting rules in other EU countries also state the same.
The Commission yesterday said it was analysing the response from Poland, but declined to give a timeline on how long the process would take.
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Justice commissioner Didier Reynders has warned further challenges to the primacy of EU law could cause the bloc to collapse.
The Commission is currently suing Germany after the country’s top constitutional court ruled that the ECB’s bond-buying programme was in breach of EU law.
In a letter to Brussels, Berlin argued its court had upheld the primacy of EU law and says it wants work to “clear up misunderstandings”.
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