The European Commission is asking Poland to stop undermining European law, as tensions deepen over Warsaw’s disregard for rule-of-law norms.
In a letter seen by POLITICO, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders late Wednesday asked the Polish government to withdraw a motion — currently pending before the country’s Constitutional Tribunal — to review the constitutionality of certain parts of the EU Treaties — a reaction to a judgment from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the EU.
The move came hours after the Commission launched the first step of legal proceedings against Germany over a national constitutional court ruling that rebuked the EU’s top court — a gesture some officials interpreted as an effort to dissuade governments in countries such as Poland and Hungary from challenging the EU court’s authority.
The Commission’s letter to Poland said the country’s motion “appears to contest fundamental principles of EU law, in particular the principle that EU law has primacy over national law” and “contests the authority of the Court of Justice when interpreting the EU Treaties.”
It added that the motion “goes against the duty of loyal cooperation in that it actively seeks a declaration of the Constitutional Tribunal to deny the authority of the interpretation of the key principles of EU law.”
The missive, addressed to Polish Minister of European Affairs Konrad Szymański and Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, described the Commission as “concerned about the consequences of such action also for the respect of the rule of law,” while also noting ongoing concerns about the “independence and legitimacy” of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal.
The Polish government now has one month to respond to the Commission’s concerns, according to the letter.
“The Commission will carefully analyse your reply, whilst reserving its right to initiate appropriate proceedings under the Treaties where necessary,” Reynders said.