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Current Affairs

Polexit

Date: 13 October 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A Polish court has given a judgement that rejected the primacy of EU law over Polish national legislation in certain matters.

 

Background

The relationship between EU and Poland has already been strained due to variety of reasons. The new judgement is likely to further escalate tensions.

 

Details

  • Polish Prime Minister has defended the controversial ruling. He has said that Poland deserves to be treated equally among other EU countries and not as a second class country.

  • Experts opine that this judgement could officially lead to “Polexit” as issues may arise during cooperation between EU and Polish courts.

  • Other members of the bloc have already expressed concern over ruling. Polish citizens also worry that Polexit could hamper their access to EU funds.

  • People have thronged the street in opposition to the government and court’s move. They have been demanding the country to continue in the bloc.

 

The decision

  • A Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal had said that some articles of the European Union’s primary treaties were not compatible with the Polish Law. This meant that EU law could not have primacy over Polish laws.

  • This is the first instance in EU’s history that a leader of a member state has questioned the treaties openly in a constitutional court.

 

Lead up to decision

  • After Poland’s nationalist Law and Justice party came to power in 2015, new amendments were brought to judicial system of the country.

  • It literally strengthened government’s hold over judiciary after the formation of Supreme Court chamber. This chamber had powers to sanction specific judges for their decision.

  • The EU and many other international bodies condemned the law as a means to punish judges critical of the government.

  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) was asked by EU to levy daily fines on Poland till the chamber is suspended. The Prime Minister had challenged this move.

 

Response of EU

  • The commission says that founding principles state that EU’s laws had primacy over national laws of all its member states.

  • Countries such as Germany and France have asked Poland to abide by the decision of the EU laws completely and unconditionally.

 

Poland’s response

Prime Minister has denied the possibility of Polexit after strong opposition was recorded against the decision. Opposition parties have asked the government to honour EU’s rules.

 

Impact

EU is a major creator of jobs, provider of aid and supporter of trade. The Polexit could possibly throw Poland and its economy into chaos.