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Decision in Poland raises fear of EU exit

by The Associated. Press | October 9, 2021 at 4:44 a.m.

BRUSSELS -- Senior officials from two founding members of the European Union expressed fears Friday that a Polish ruling challenging the supremacy of EU laws could trigger the country's exit from the 27-nation bloc.

France's Europe minister, Clement Beaune, insisted that Thursday's ruling from Poland's Constitutional Tribunal was an attack against the EU, while Luxembourg Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Jean Asselborn said Poland was "playing with fire."

They spoke a day after the tribunal ruled that Polish laws take precedence over those of the 27-nation bloc, which Poland joined in 2004. The ruling further escalated lingering tensions over democratic standards between the country's right-wing nationalist government and Brussels institutions.

The tribunal majority ruling -- in response to a case brought by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki -- said Poland's EU membership did not give the European Court of Justice supreme legal authority and did not mean that Poland had shifted its legal sovereignty to the EU.

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The head of the EU's executive branch, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said she was "deeply concerned" by the ruling and pledged a swift analysis of its meaning before the EU acts. She also hinted at possible business disruptions with Poland.

Poland's prime minister asked for the review after the European Court of Justice ruled in March that Poland's new regulations for appointing judges to the Supreme Court could violate EU law. The ruling obliged Poland's government to discontinue the rules that gave politicians influence over judicial appointments. To date, Poland has not done so.

Beaune said he does not want Poland to leave, echoing a sentiment largely shared in Brussels and in Poland, where Morawiecki recently called a potential "Polexit" fake news. Some 80% of Poles support EU membership.

Poland's Senate adopted a resolution Friday stating that the upper house of parliament will "stand guard to the national interests which reside in Poland's continued presence in the European Union."

The resolution says it's the tribunal's ruling that conflicts with Poland's Constitution and expresses concerns that an opinion handed down from a court "that is controlled by the ruling party is a legislative prelude to leading Poland out of" the E.U.

Information for this article was contributed by Monika Scislowska, Angela Charlton, Geir Moulson and Mark Carlson of The Associated Press.

Print Headline: Decision in Poland raises fear of EU exit

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