The European Union risks collapse or becoming a dictatorship if it continues blackmailing Warsaw over fears of ‘Polexit’, the prime minister of Poland said yesterday.
In a letter to EU leaders, Mateusz Morawiecki accused Brussels of “punishing” and “starving” Poland with threats to withhold €57bn of Covid recovery funds in a row over the supremacy of European law.
The Polish Constitutional Court said that its rules superseded EU law, which contradicts the bloc’s founding treaties. EU leaders are set to discuss the crisis at a Brussels summit this week.
Mr Morawiecki said Poland remained a “loyal member” of the EU but warned that the bloc was turning into an anti-democratic federal superstate that trampled over national sovereignty.
“We ought to be anxious about the gradual transformation of the Union into an entity that would cease to be an alliance of free, equal and sovereign states, and instead become a single, centrally managed organism, run by institutions deprived of democratic control by the citizens,” he said.
Mr Morawiecki hit out at EU politicians who have called for Brussels to withhold EU budget cash and coronavirus funds.
The Dutch parliament has passed a resolution calling for the money to be held back, and the European Commission has said it will use “all its powers” to ensure EU law is respected.
Mr Morawiecki, of the right-wing Law and Justice party, said: “The language of financial blackmail, punishment, ‘starving’ of unsubordinated states, undemocratic and centralist pressures do not have a place in European politics. Such language strikes not only at individual states, but the entire community.”
He said EU law did have primacy over Polish law in most cases, but not in the case of its constitution. It was usual for constitutional courts across Europe to make similar rulings and he accused the European Commission of trying to overrule the Polish court, which critics say is stuffed with the prime minister’s political allies.
Mr Morawiecki said: “Unfortunately, today we are dealing with a very dangerous phenomenon whereby various EU institutions usurp powers they do not have under the treaties and impose their will on member states.”
He said “no sovereign state” could accept that because it was “illegal” and “dangerous to the continuation of the EU”, as it subordinated national governments to “the practically unlimited power of centrally managed institutions deprived of democratic control”.
The EU would turn into “an organisation that contradicts our common values: freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity”, he said, before taking part in a European Parliament debate on the dispute today.
A poll by SW Research for the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper found 43pc of Poles believe there should be a referendum on EU membership to settle the row.
But 63pc of those would vote to remain.
Didier Reynders, the EU’s justice commissioner, said Brussels could trigger a new mechanism that allows it to withhold budget payments to member states who do not respect the bloc’s democratic standards within “days”. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)
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