Controversial judgment on EU law: Von der Leyen threatens Poland with fines

Poland’s constitutional court ruled national law over EU law. The commission is apparently already playing through possible reactions to the judge’s ruling. Should there be a lawsuit before the European Court of Justice, it could end up being expensive for Poland.

After the controversial Polish constitutional court ruling on the relationship between national law and EU law, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen threatened the country with specific penalties for the first time. The German politician said at a meeting of the EU commissioners that an initial analysis of last week’s ruling indicated very serious problems, said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

In the event that these concerns are confirmed by an in-depth analysis, the German politician has indicated several options for action. Among them is the initiation of further infringement proceedings against Poland, which could lead to an action before the European Court of Justice and ultimately result in financial sanctions against Warsaw.

The new EU rule of law mechanism could also be needed, said Simson. In the event of certain violations of the rule of law, this provides that EU countries can reduce funds from the community budget. The ongoing Article 7 proceedings against Poland, with which Warsaw could be deprived of voting rights in the EU, could also be expanded. However, the process has barely made any progress for years.

The Polish Constitutional Court ruled at the beginning of October that parts of EU law were incompatible with the Polish constitution. This calls into question a cornerstone of the European legal community. The EU Commission is of the opinion that EU law generally takes precedence over national law.

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