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Polexit warning: EU feud with Poland ‘threat to entire architecture’ of Brussels bloc

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EU: Expert on fears of Poland being 'marginalised'

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On Wednesday, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal defied a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice (CoJ) against its own judicial reforms. It comes as the EU launched legal action against Poland and Hungary for violations of fundamental rights concerning LGBTQ rights.

The country’s highest court said the bloc’s decision was “not in line” with the constitution.

Zbigniew Ziobro, Justice Minister for Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS), argued the CoJ’s ruling “against interference, usurpation and legal aggression by organs of the European Union”.

The PiS government has pushed forward with widespread reforms it says are needed to fight corruption.

The legal row between Poland and the EU began in February 2020, where the country passed measures preventing judges from referring to the CoJ in cases.

Poland’s ruling came just hours after the CoJ issued an interim measure ordering the country to put an immediate suspension to the work of Poland’s newly established “disciplinary chamber”.

Mr Ziobro welcomed the decision and said on Twitter: “The constitution and normality prevailed over attempts of political interference by EU bodies in the Polish legal order.”

The European Commission has said it is “concerned” by the latest ruling, insisting EU law had primacy over Polish law.

The move has sparked concern Poland could be the next country to leave the EU.

Wojciech Sadurski, constitutional law specialist at the University of Sydney, said: “Polish captured ‘Constitutional Tribunal’ (improperly constituted, with a quasi-judge) has just announced, that some articles of European Treaties (including loyal cooperation) are not compatible with PL Constitution.

“A decisive step toward legal Polexit. Drama. Sadness.”

Brussels Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders warned in the Financial Times: “There is a real threat to the entire architecture of the EU.”

The liberal-conservative Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita predicted: “If the constitutional tribunal follows the arguments of the government, we would be on the way to a Polexit.”


Former EU Council chief Donald Tusk also shared he saw the constitutional court’s decision as a tentative tilt towards exiting the EU altogether.

The former Polish Prime Minister said: “It is not Poland but (ruling party leader Jaroslaw) Kaczynski that is leaving the EU together with his party.

“Only we Poles can effectively oppose that.”

EU Justice Commissioner Reynders admitted that he had underestimated the situation, and said: “At first I thought that the Polish government [only] wanted to replace some judges with others.

“But now I see that the primacy of EU law and thus the functioning of the Union are threatened.”

Additional reporting from Monika Pallenberg

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