Poland has issued a Brexit-related warning to the European Union after the bloc ordered them to implement judicial reforms or face fines.
A spokesman for Poland’s conservative nationalist ruling party, Law and Justice, said on Thursday that although the country had no intention of leaving the EU, it would have to “seek drastic solutions” to its dispute before going to Britain. refer.
During a discussion at an economic forum in Poland, Ryszard Terlecki said the party wants to stay in the EU and have a cooperative relationship with the bloc, but that the EU “must be acceptable to us”.
“If things go the way they probably are, we’ll have to look for drastic solutions,” he warned. “The British showed that the dictatorship of the Brussels bureaucracy did not suit them and turned and left,” he said, referring to Brexit.
His comments came after the European Commission said on Tuesday it had asked the EU court to impose daily fines on Poland for its rule of law, and a controversial chamber of the Polish Supreme Court that chastises judges and prosecutors.
The EU’s Justice Commissioner has also proposed withholding the country’s Covid-19 recovery funds until it implements judicial reform and removes the chamber.
Brussels says it threatens the country’s judicial independence, and despite Warsaw saying it would dismantle the chamber, the EU said Poland “had not taken all necessary measures”.
Government spokesman Piotr Mueller (pictured) denied there is any intention to leave the 27-member bloc, saying ‘We will not follow Britain’s path’ after Terlecki’s comments sparked furious reactions from opposition parties who said that Poland’s EU membership was on the brink of risk
In response to Terlecki’s warning, Polish opposition politicians accused the ruling party of endangering Poland’s membership in the EU.
Former European Council President Donald Tusk, who is now the leader of the Polish opposition party – Civic Platform – warned today of the “constant undermining” or presence of Poland in the EU by the Law and Justice party.
When asked if he was sure of Poland’s continued membership of the EU, he said: ‘No, I don’t have that peace of mind and no one should.
“Disasters such as Brexit, for example, or the possible departure of Poland from the EU, very often happen not because someone planned them, but because someone has not been able to come up with a sensible alternative to such a potential drama.”
Government spokesman Piotr Mueller denied there is any intention to leave the 27-strong bloc, saying: “We will not follow Britain’s path.”
Terlecki, who is also the leader of the ruling party’s group in parliament, spoke after the bloc moved earlier this week to financially punish Poland for actions increasing the ruling party’s control over the courts.
Brussels says they are in violation of EU law.
Opposition lawmakers seized upon Terlecki’s comment to accuse Law and Justice of pushing for Poland’s exit from the EU. Senate President Tomasz Grodzki said it would not be in Poland’s interest to leave the EU.
Amid the uproar, Terlecki tweeted on Thursday that he is not in favor of leaving the bloc, saying: “Poland was, is and will be a member of the EU.
Despite the Polish government’s longstanding disputes with the EU, surveys show that the vast majority of Poles are in favor of joining the bloc.
Hungary, seen as a close ally of Poland in the EU bloc, came out in Brussels for pushing for fines for its judicial reform.
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga accused the EU of “attacking” Warsaw and interfering in the legislative process, calling Brussels “outrageous and arrogant” to dismantle the controversial chamber.
“The European Commission has brutally attacked Poland,” the justice minister said in a Facebook post.
“The procedure is not only scandalous, but also completely unacceptable… With this scandalous and arrogant move, the Commission has crossed a line that we previously thought was unimaginable,” she added. “We broadly support Poland and show solidarity with our Polish friends.”
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga (pictured) has accused the EU of ‘attacking’ Warsaw and interfering in the legislative process, calling Brussels ‘outrageous and arrogant’ to dismantle the controversial chamber
Hungary and Poland have been important allies in recent years, both ruled by nationalist governments that have cut horns with Brussels over press freedoms and LGBT rights.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also assured Polish President Andrzej Duda that his government would show “solidarity and support” and accused Brussels of “abuse of power” during a meeting on Thursday.
Poland has also been told by the European Union that it will have to prove that it is no longer defying the EU court over its judicial independence to receive its Covid-19 recovery money.
Didier Reynders, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, said it made sense that the EU would not distribute the €36 billion that Poland had requested under the Bloc’s recovery package, which is awaiting approval from the European Commission.
That is until it made a “real change” to its disciplinary chamber for judges, Reynders said, before adding that fines for Poland should be up to €1 million a day, although he stressed the amount was up to the court.
“I must say that we are at the end of the so-called dialogue with Poland on this. We tried to enter into a real dialogue with a few letters and a few documents, then before the Court,” said Reynders. The Financial Times.
“We have received positive reactions from the Court of Justice, but it is not the intention of Poland to fully comply with the rulings of the Court of Justice, so the next step is financial.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also assured Polish President Andrzej Duda (pictured) that his government would show ‘solidarity and support’ in its conflict with the EU
Didier Reynders, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, said it made sense that the EU would not distribute the €36 billion that Poland had requested under the Bloc’s recovery package until it reformed its judiciary.
The EU is also at odds with Poland on issues ranging from a challenge by the government to the primacy of EU law to LGBT rights and press freedoms.
The Commission recently warned five Polish regional councils that they could lose money over declarations that they were ‘LGBT-free’, and it has said Warsaw’s position that EU law is not above national law, the release of 57 billion euros in EU recovery holds up funds.
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro accused the EU of double standards and said the justice systems of other European countries worked in a similar way to Poland’s.
“Today’s decision … is another expression of the European Commission’s aggression against Poland, an attempt to curtail our sovereignty and an attack on the Polish legal order,” he said at a news conference.
The EU says the Polish chamber is being used to pressure judges or exercise political control over judicial decisions, and the highest court, which finds it undermining EU law, has ordered it to be dissolved.
The Polish government said three weeks ago that the chamber would be dismantled in the coming months as part of wider reforms to the judiciary, but the executive committee said it is now taking action.
“The Commission is asking the Court to impose a daily penalty on Poland as long as the measures imposed by the court order are not fully implemented,” the Commission said in a statement.
The European Commission states that while the chamber may not be accepting new cases, it is still working on existing cases.
Piotr Muller said it would present its proposals for judicial reform in the fall.