EU is taking Poland to the Constitutional Court for violating EU law
By Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Wednesday took Poland to the EU’s top court for violations of EU law by Poland’s Constitutional Court and its jurisprudence, the commission said in a statement.
The lawsuit is part of a wider standoff between the European Union and the Eurosceptic and nationalist government that has ruled Poland since 2015 over the rule of law, which has already led to the suspension of EU funds to Warsaw.
The trigger for the Commission’s move on Wednesday were rulings by the Polish Constitutional Court in July and October 2021, according to which provisions of the EU treaties were incompatible with the Polish constitution and expressly questioned the primacy of EU law over national law.
“With these judgments, the Constitutional Court violated the general principles of autonomy, primacy, effectiveness, the uniform application of EU law and the binding effect of judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU,” the Commission said.
“The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the rights of Polish citizens are protected and that they can enjoy the benefits of the EU in the same way as all EU citizens, the Commission said.
The EU executive, responsible for ensuring all 27 EU countries apply the bloc’s laws and respect its treaties, also said the Polish tribunal’s rulings violate EU laws that guarantee the right to effective judicial protection guarantee by unduly restricting its interpretation.
“By doing so, it deprives individuals in Polish courts of the full guarantees set out in this provision,” it said.
The Constitutional Court has the task of examining whether the laws passed by Parliament and signed by the President are compatible with the Polish Constitution.
The commission said that following changes by the ruling nationalist and Eurosceptic PiS party, the court no longer met the requirements of what was previously required by law to be an independent and impartial court.
“This is due to irregularities in the appointment procedures of three judges in December 2015 and in the selection of their president in December 2016,” the commission said.
The EU executive conveyed all of its views on the tribunal to the Polish authorities last July, but Warsaw dismissed the arguments in September.
“Therefore, the Commission decided today to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union,” the Commission said.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Jan Harvey)