Tensions between Poland and the European Commission have risen in recent days after leaders of the ruling Polish Conservative Party accused Brussels of failing to meet its commitments to Warsaw and threatened retaliation.
A spokesperson for the European Commission responded today that Poland, a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004, had not done enough to guarantee the democratic principle of judicial independence.
The commission blocked billions of euros in post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery funds earmarked for Poland, arguing that the country’s government was violating democratic norms, with the European Union particularly concerned about overhauling Poland’s judicial system.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, argued in an interview published over the weekend that it was unjustified for the European Commission to withhold money in the context of the current war in Ukraine.
Poland was the EU member state that received the largest number of Ukrainian refugees following the Russian invasion.
“There is a crisis, there is a war. These are conditions that fully justify taking extraordinary measures. Since the European Commission has not fulfilled its obligations to Poland in this area, we have no reason to fulfill our obligations to Poland. The European Union “, Kaczynski said in an interview with the weekly Sieci.
PiS Secretary General Krzysztof Sobolewski said on Monday that Poland would have no choice but to respond if pandemic recovery funding is blocked.
At the insistence of the European Commission, Poland has abolished the so-called disciplinary chamber at the Supreme Court, but judges say their decisions are vulnerable to suspension or other forms of punishment.
“Poland must fulfill its commitments to reform the regulatory regime,” European Commission spokeswoman Ariana Podesta said today, noting that the new law is an important step, but not enough, and that such changes are relevant. Country plan to use EU funds.
Donald Tusk, former president of the European Council and now Poland’s opposition leader, has warned that the goal of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice is to take the country out of the EU.
“All supporters of the Union must understand this”, Tusk commented on the social network Twitter, and asked Brussels not to underestimate the statements of Kaczynski, who in a recent interview said that if PiS wins the next election, the relationship with the EU should be reconsidered.