Tensions between the European Union and Poland: Warsaw wants to “keep control of its justice”, according to the president of the Robert Schuman foundation

Poles hide “the fact of wanting to keep control of Polish justice, already at the orders of the government”Jean-Dominique Giuliani, president of the Robert Schuman Foundation, denounced on franceinfo Tuesday, October 19, while the Warsaw recovery plan was frozen by the European Union in the context of tensions with Poland. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki denounced EU “blackmail”.

Tensions between Brussels and Poland have been high for several years and a Polish reform of justice called into question by the European Union. They reached a climax with a decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, which ruled on October 7 that certain European treaties are incompatible with the Polish constitution.

franceinfo: How to explain the tensions between the European Union and Poland?

Jean-Dominique Giuliani: The origin of the dispute between Poland and Brussels relates to the reform of Polish justice, which was challenged by the Court of Justice of the European Union. [Le 7 octobre, le Tribunal constitutionnel polonais a rendu une décision estimant que] their constitution is [incompatible] with European laws and that the competences of the European Union are not obvious in terms of the rule of law. It is on this point that tensions crystallize because the Polish government, a little nationalist, authoritarian and above all provocative, does not wish to modify the Constitution. However, they hide the fact of wanting to keep control of Polish justice, already at the orders of the government. It is against the principles of the European Union.

what do you mean by “justice at the orders of the government” ?

First of all, the Polish Supreme Court is appointed primarily by the Polish president. The judges too. There is also a disciplinary body, whose members are appointed by the government, which has the possibility of dismissing judges. The Poles justify this by saying that it is to “purify” the magistracy of the Communists still present. The European Union totally disagrees on this point.

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There is more and more talk of “Polexit”, ie Poland’s exit from the European Union. Would it be a disaster for Warsaw to leave the European Union?

80% of Poles are in favor of staying in the European Union. The Polish Prime Minister wrote to all his European counterparts saying that he accepts that the European texts are superior to the Polish laws, but that he has a constitutional problem and obviously he does not wish to solve this problem. This is not the first time that we have had a problem with the Poles and they generally end up agreeing to reason. Once the pressure goes down, they will fall into line.

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