The tone is still rising between the Polish government and the European Union. The Polish Constitutional Court ruled on Friday 8 October that certain articles of the Treaty on European Union were “incompatible” with the country’s Constitution. One more step in the standoff between Warsaw and Brussels in recent months around judicial reforms that the European Commission is contesting. Can the decision of the highest court of the country lead to a “Polexit”, that is to say an exit of Poland from the EU? Interview with Sylvain Kahn, teacher-researcher in history at Sciences Po and specialist in European issues.
Franceinfo: why is the tension rising between the Polish government and the European Union?
Sylvain Kahn: The Polish Constitutional Court considers that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) cannot oppose Polish law. The constitutional judges have issued a decision which calls into question the primacy of European law over Polish law. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki [du parti conservateur nationaliste Droit et justice], had seized them following legal reforms contested by the European Union and the Polish opposition, who considerednt that the independence of justice and the separation of powers note are preads respecteds Poland.
Why is this matter of the primacy of European law important?
Since Europe has existed, since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, all the countries of the European Union have agreed on this point: European law, therefore the Court of Justice of the European Union, which makes it possible to arbitrate conflicts, is binding on all States in the fields in which Europe is competent. This is called the primacy of European law. It was wanted by all the Member States and it makes sense. Moreover, with each new EU treaty, such as the Maastricht Treaty for example, the parliament modify the law constitutional French so that European law can apply. But today, in Poland, the Constitutional Court invites the Polish legislator to no longer recognize the primacy of EU law. It is as if this country no longer belongs to the European Union.
What turn can this showdown take and what are the possible sanctions on the EU side?
In European law, it is not intended to exclude a Member State, but sanctions are possible whena national government strangeness with insistence thelegal order European. There are in particular the procedure provided for in article 7 of the EU Treaty, which allows the VSomission european to open an investigation for breach of the rule of law. This can result in the suspension of the voting rights of a Member State within the European Council [l’instance qui réunit les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement] and within the Council of the European Union [l’assemblée des Etats qui vote les lois]. But this option is unlikely. The suspension of the right to vote must be voted unanimously by the member states, with the exception of the country concerned. As Hungary is also in the crosshairs of the EU, because the government of Viktor Orban promotes nepotism and corruption, it will not vote sanctions against Poland.
The other possibilities of sanctions, more likely, are financial: fines or suspensions of European funding payments. The rest of the EU may decide to do not pour to Poland sstructural funds intended for regions, or his donations from the recovery fund, for example. Faced with this risk, dhe local authorities led by the ruling party have moreover abandoned their discriminatory mechanisms of “zones without LGBT ideology” this summer.
But the European Union will above all apply political pressure. Last summer he There was a turning point during Euro football when UEFA prevented Munich stadium from displaying LGBT colors during Germany-Hungary meeting. Personalities, such as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, or even 17 foreign ministers, intervened by denouncing the texts adopted by the Hungarian authorities, which attacked gay rights. There will therefore be with Poland, beyond the legal standoff, a political standoff.
In your opinion, is there a real risk of Poland leaving the EU?
The Polish government will without a doubt go so far as to raise the threat of leaving the EU. Ithere will be so a bronca in the country. Tens of thousands of Polonese hisalready have mobilised Sunday to show their attachment to Europe and the rule of law. In the end, the Polish government will have to find a way out of the conflict. Corn that will probably last several months.