Poland’s Constitutional Court has defied the European Union with a ruling that government critics suggest puts a question mark over the country’s future membership of the bloc.
Yesterday, the court ruled that any interim measures issued by the EU Court of Justice against Poland’s controversial judicial reforms were “not in line” with the Polish constitution. The ruling came yesterday after the EU court issued an interim order for Poland to immediately suspend the activities of the “disciplinary chamber” of the Supreme Court, a newly established institution set up as part of the reforms.
After the ruling, Poland’s independent human rights ombudsman Adam Bodnar told reporters:
“We are in the process of a legal Polexit which is taking place step by step,”
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro hailed the ruling. He said:
“It is against interference, usurpation and legal aggression by organs of the European Union”.
Former EU chief Donald Tusk, head of the opposition Civic Platform party, immediately accused the governing right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party of “leaving the EU”.
Warsaw and Brussels have been at loggerheads for years over reforms pushed through by the PiS government which argues the reforms are necessary to tackle corruption and end Communist-era legacies in the judiciary. But the European Commission says they undermine rule of law and has tried to bring Poland, as well as Hungary, back into line with what it sees as European democratic guidelines.
The possibility of a clear challenge to the primacy of EU law in Poland has been seen by many as tentative first steps towards a Polish exit from the European Union.