More than three-quarters of the members of the European Parliament have addressed the European Commission with a joint letter demanding a freeze of the billions of euros that the EU is to send to Poland, until Warsaw “respects the rule of law and the rule of law of the EU” writes Reuters.
In the letter, representatives of the center-right People’s Party, center-left socialists, Renewable Europe liberals, the Greens and the united left stated that the nationalist government of Poland should not be allocated money and expected to fulfill its obligations.
Blocked may be 23.9 billion euros in grants and 12.1 billion euros in loans from the EU recovery fund, which Warsaw could receive to restore the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not the first time that the demand to freeze funds for Poland has been made. In July 2021, Deputy Chairperson of the European Parliament, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Katharina Barley, said that the tranche should be blocked as soon as possible. According to her, it is important that these measures, first of all, concern the government, and not the population. She proposed to introduce the same measures against Hungary. Both countries, according to the European Union, violate the principles of the rule of law.
The EU’s discontent is, first of all, caused by the judicial reform, which is being carried out by the Polish authorities. The essence of the reform, in particular, is the introduction of disciplinary liability of judges for actions or omissions that may interfere or significantly impede the functioning of the judicial system, as well as for actions of a political nature. The EU believes that the reform will help the authorities to strengthen the system of pressure on judges.
In addition, according to the EU, Poland does not comply with the standards regarding the fight against corruption and the system of checks and balances.
In October 2021, the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that Polish law in the country took precedence over the law of the European Union. The tribunal concluded that the Constitution of Poland is the supreme law of the country, and any international agreement or treaty is subordinate to it. This decision further inflamed the conflict between the European Commission and Warsaw in the context of the reform of the Polish judicial system.
Conflict warmed up nationalistic sentiments in the country. Later, this was facilitated by the migration crisis on the border with Belarus, which, however, briefly extinguished the conflict between the Polish authorities and the EU. Despite this, Poland will still have to make a decision – to yield or not in the dispute with the European Commission, which is now under additional pressure from the five political blocs of the European Parliament.