Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruling: European Commission must act immediately to protect the Rule of Law in the EU

08/10/2021

Polish police patrol in front of the entrance to the Constitutional Court with the coat of arms of Poland, in Warsaw on October 7, 2021, as the court holds a hearing on the primacy of EU or Polish law. Photo: Belga

Polish police patrol in front of the entrance to the Constitutional Court with the coat of arms of Poland, in Warsaw on October 7, 2021, as the court holds a hearing on the primacy of EU or Polish law. Photo: Belga

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is extremely worried by the recent ruling issued by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal which declares the most fundamental provisions of the EU Treaties (art. 1 and 19 TEU) as unconstitutional and declines the primacy of European law over national law.

As the guardian of the Treaties, we urge the European Commission to act swiftly and use all the tools at its disposal to protect the Rule of Law in the European Union.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The verdict issued by the Constitutional Tribunal led by PiS appointees, following an initiative of PiS Prime Minister Morawiecki, is a direct threat to the foundations of the European Union.

“The founding principles are clear: EU law has primacy over national law, and rulings by the European Court of Justice are binding on all Member States. This has always been a fundamental part of EU membership, including when the Polish people voted overwhelmingly to join the Union in 2003.

“The PiS government is determined to force through its extreme right-wing agenda at any cost. From the attacks on LGBTI rights and women’s rights, to the undermining of the independence of the judiciary, the PES family has denounced in the strongest terms the systematic undermining of the Rule of Law in Poland. Now Polish conservatives are taking aim at the fundamental foundations of Poland’s EU membership to undermine the rights and freedoms it guarantees for Poles.

”We expect the European Commission to use all tools to act and protect the fundamental tenets of European legal order and the rights and freedoms of Europeans, no matter where they live in the European Union. We must reaffirm the EU’s founding principles and immediately act against those who undermine the Rule of Law.”

On 7 October 2021, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal determined that EU law does not have primacy over national law, despite the fact that the verdict falls outside the remit of the Tribunal as defined in the Polish Constitution. This ruling comes after a question was submitted by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on whether the Court of Justice of the EU is going beyond its competencies in its rulings on Poland’s judicial system. This conclusion comes also after months of confrontation between the PiS-led government and the EU Commission and infringement procedures during the summer.

PES President Sergei Stanishev and PES Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck are in Poland alongside other members of Europe’s socialist and democratic political family to attend Lewica’s Unification Congress of the New Left tomorrow.