Giacomo Fracassi

European Commission moves to sue Poland over EU law primacy

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 pl Author: Adrian Grycuk

The European Commission moved to defer Poland in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union after the country continued to violate EU law in its courts. The decision to sue spurred from a series of rulings made by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal between July and October 2021 that affirmed the primacy of Polish law on EU law.

EU law in principle is above national law, but the rulings by the Polish tribunal breached the principle, in violation of EU treaties, according to the Commission, who added that the rulings effect on “autonomy, primacy, effectiveness, uniform application of Union law.” Plus, the rulings affected judicial protection of Polish citizens, who are not fully protected under EU law like other citizens before court.

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal is at the centre of EU’s concerns over Polish judicial independence ever since far-right and Eurosceptic party PiS took power in 2015. The ruling party reformed the court, whose primary role is to check whether laws are compatible with the constitution. According to the EU, the changes in appointment procedures in 2015 and the selection of current president Julia Przyłębska in 2016 present irregularities, making the tribunal short of its role of being an independent and impartial entity.

Currently the EU has a procedure opened against Poland on the matter and sent its view to Polish authorities in July, but the government rejected the arguments in September. Overall, the EU and the Polish government have been clashing over the rule of law for years.

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