The European Parliament referred the European Commission to the European Court of Justice. Parliament wants the commission to actually use the resources it has to compel Poland to respect the rule of law.
Parliament is concerned with the so-called “rule of law mechanism”. This is the option to suspend the payment of European funds to a member state if the rule of law there is threatened.
There are serious concerns in Parliament about Poland, which has not yet lifted the controversial disciplinary chamber of the Constitutional Court, as requested by Brussels. There are also major concerns in Parliament about a ruling by that Polish court placing Polish law above European law. This is contrary to the conditions under which a country can be a member of the European Union.
Actions, not words
“We expect the European Commission to be consistent and to do what Commission President von der Leyen has said in our parliament on this subject,” the European Parliament president said. “Words must be turned into action.”
During a debate in Parliament, harsh words were uttered against Poland by the European Commission. UNHCR and Poland are engaged in a bitter conflict.
In this fight, Poland, along with Hungary, asked the European Court of Justice to test whether the “rule of law mechanism” is legally defensible. A verdict in this case is expected at the beginning of the year. The Committee wants to wait for this ruling before implementing the mechanism.
But Parliament does not want to wait for that and asks the committee to start implementing the mechanism now. Parliament’s legal department earlier warned that the European Court could also determine that it must first find something about the mechanism’s legal validity before it can deal with a claim to publish it. In this case, the court can rule not to accept Parliament, and therefore there will be no trial.
Going to court in any way puts the commission in a difficult position. In the search for a solution to the conflict with Poland, Parliament called for strict measures, while the heads of government of member states last week called for caution. Under the leadership of Germany, there was an appeal to continue talks with Poland in particular.
Meanwhile, feelings are still rising. Poland called on the Belgian ambassador in Warsaw today after Belgian Prime Minister de Croo addressed Poland this week to undermine the rule of law.
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