EU: Expert on fears of Poland being 'marginalised'
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In the midst of a bitter legal stand-off between Brussels and Warsaw, Zbigniew Ziobro accused the bloc of attempted “blackmail”. His rant comes after the European Commission gave Poland until August 16 to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Justice against the country’s judicial reforms. Brussels has threatened to slap Warsaw with hefty fines unless it complies with the Luxembourg-based court’s ruling.
Mr Ziobro has declared that Poland will not back down in the row, accusing the ECJ of having a “colonial mentality”.
He said making concessions to Brussels in the row over its judicial system will see Warsaw forced to make concessions in other areas in the future.
Mr Ziobro fumed: “I am completely against giving in to the illegal blackmail by the EU, which is being carried out via the ECJ.
“If we agree today to the illegal diktats of the ECJ in matters in which it does not have the right to interfere, then tomorrow the ECJ will issue a verdict obliging Poland, for example, to introduce gay marriage and the adoption of children by such couples.”
The justice minister was asked by the newspaper Rzeczpospolita whether Poland should remain in the EU at any price.
He responded: “At any price we should strive to defend our autonomy and our position within the EU.
“Otherwise Poles will lose from EU membership. So we should be in, but not at any price.”
Polling suggests that a huge majority of Poles support their country’s EU membership.
Warsaw has raked in billions in funding since it joined in 2004, with many of its citizens taking advantage of free movement rules to work and live elsewhere in Europe.
But the five-year dispute over Poland’s judicial reforms has strained tensions between Brussels and the country’s nationalist government.
It has also brought into question Warsaw’s position in the bloc.
The latest row follows last month’s ruling by the ECJ that Poland’s new disciplinary chamber for judges – which can punish judges for the content of their rulings – is in breach of EU law.
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Poland’s supreme court yesterday partially suspended the chamber in response to the ruling.
The coalition government appears to be split over the issue with more moderate politicians favouring a softer approach to the ruling.
Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has previously backed the prospect of changes.
Last month, he said: “Today we are in a situation where maybe the activities of the disciplinary chamber should be reviewed.
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“Because that chamber has certainly not fulfilled all our expectations, including mine.”
But Mr Ziobro, who heads United Poland, one of the smaller coalition partners to the ruling Law and Justice party, said he does not share a soft approach to dealing with the EU.
He said: “The prime minister is a proponent of seeking compromises, and we consider that the aggression of the EU should be met with a tough response.”
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