The Polish Constitutional Court challenges with this decision the principle of primacy of European legislation over that of the Member States, in full negotiations to approve the pandemic recovery plan
The Constitutional Court of Poland has concluded this Thursday that some articles of the European Union treaties are unconstitutional in the country, challenging a key principle of European integration.
The majority of the Polish Constitutional Court, 12 of the 14 judges in the chamber, maintains that despite being part of the EU, this does not give the European courts supremacy with respect to Polish judicial decisions and that therefore it means that Poland does not it has transferred its sovereignty to the Union.
With this decision, the Polish Justice challenges the principle of primacy of European law over that of the Member States – enshrined by the Court of Justice of the EU in the judgment Costa v Enel of 1964 -, in full negotiations between Brussels and Warsaw to approve the pandemic recovery plan.
Primacy of European law, in question
“The primacy of constitutional law over other sources of law derives directly from the Constitution of the Republic of Poland”, tweeted this Thursday the Polish government spokesman, Piotr Muller, who has celebrated the decision of the Constitutional Court, in line with the thesis of the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS, conservative).
Higher officials of the Polish government, such as Secretary of State for Justice Sebastian Kaleta, have been quick to insist that Poland does not contravene European legislation but that this opinion confirms that the EU has on some occasions gone beyond what is established in the treaties.
Specifically, according to analyst Jakub Jaraczewski of the Berlin-based think tank Democracy Reporting International, the Polish Constitutional Court considers that Articles 1 and 19 of the EU Treaty are incompatible with the Polish Constitution as far as Polish courts are concerned. They give primacy to EU law and can disregard the Polish Constitution and laws. “Poland has just taken a legal step into the abyss of” legal Polexit “, Jaraczewski assessed.
From Brussels, the reactions have not been long in coming. The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has asked the European Commission to take the necessary actions not to leave the Polish Constitutional dictatorship without consequences.
For now, as they did with the judgment of the Karlsruhe Court in 2020, the European executive arm has reaffirmed in a statement the primacy of EU law before the blow of the Polish Constitutional Court. “The Commission will not hesitate to use its powers under the Treaties to safeguard the uniform application and integrity of Union law,” he warns.
One of the key tools for the European Commission in the coming years is the rule of conditionality that it has already begun to test: Member States will be able to receive the corresponding European funds provided they respect the rule of law and the values set forth. in Article 2 of the EU Treaty. Hungary and Poland are opposed. This decision of the Polish Constitutional represents one more chapter in the long list of disagreements between Warsaw and Brussels – in full negotiations – that have marked the last few years.