Poland is at a crossroads. Polexit is not a chimera

Warsaw, Poznan, Lodz, Gdansk or Krakow. That Sunday evening, a number of Poles said to themselves that they just really had to take to the streets now. And preferably with the flag of the European Union. What has happened to our northern neighbors in recent weeks has frightened many ordinary Poles.

Political games about the supremacy of the national constitution over European legislation have resulted in a specific threat. And government politicians seized on the possibility that Poland would lose European subsidies due to its own greed. They did not leave the thread dry in Brussels and threatened to leave the Union.

It has gone so far that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had to reassure his own citizens and representatives of European states that Poland belongs to the European Union and has no plans to go anywhere. “It’s not even where,” Gazeta Wyborcza commented sarcastically. The protesters thought the same.

However, the Polish Prime Minister is also the main face of the country’s dispute with the Union over the form of the rule of law. He has long blamed Warsaw for violating the basic rules of the Union. “It should be added, however, that only in words, deeds do not come,” wrote the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in its commentary. Morawiecki was the one who asked the Polish Constitutional Court for an opinion, what is more: the Polish Constitution or European laws? Morawiecki was also the one who shouted in front of his fellow believers that he would not allow Poland to be treated as a second-class state.

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Finally, after long delays, the Polish Constitutional Court replied: “Polish constitutional law takes precedence over other sources of law.” The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, finds the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court worrying and wants to study it quickly. However, the Süddeutsche Zeitung was immediately clear that the only solution left for the Union was to suspend billions of euros in EU coronavirus aid to Poland. “The flow of European subsidies will dry up,” Wyborcza is convinced.

According to the Polish media, the verdict of the Constitutional Court on government policies may be an excuse to simply ignore the unsatisfactory verdicts of the Court of Justice of the European Union. At the same time, Poland, like all other Member States, undertook to respect EU rules when joining the Union.

However, the problem is not only in the judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court itself. Criticism of the European Union for violating the rule of law towards our neighbors for the summer has come to this very institution. The majority of constitutional judges were nominated by the conservative government party Law and Justice on the basis of a law which the Union also scathingly criticizes.

All the above are considered by Polish liberal journalists to be a harbinger of a possible polyexit.

Former Prime Minister, former chairman of the European Council and now chairman of the largest opposition party, the Civic Platform Donald Tusk, called for Sunday’s protests. “We must save Poland. No one else will do it for us, “Tusk told the protesters. “They want to leave the Union so that they can continue to steal with impunity without restrictions,” the former prime minister said, according to the American agency AP.

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However, the state television TVP, which is controlled by government politicians, informed its viewers that the demonstrations were a protest against the Polish constitution.

“I am really afraid that the government will really take us out of the Union,” Grazyna from Warsaw demonstrated to the daily.

Stopped money and Turów

Concerns about polexit in the country are growing, despite the fact that the European Union is very popular in Poland. According to a survey published for the daily Rzeczpospolita on Sunday, almost 65 percent of respondents do not want to leave. Just over 40 percent of Poles are in favor of calling a referendum on a possible withdrawal from the Union.

The European Commission has already announced that it will “not hesitate to use its powers under the EU treaties”. By the end of the month, Poland should receive a list of rule of law defects from Brussels. If the government of Mateusz Morawiecki continued to play the dead beetle and refused to take the required steps to ensure the rule of law, the country would be threatened by a freeze on European Union funding for the National Recovery Plan, which is hundreds of billions of crowns.

In addition, Poland is in danger of suspending subsidies from the Union due to a dispute with the Czech Republic over the Turów mine. The first payment order of the European Commission is waiting here. Poland has to pay a fine of half a million euros a day for failing to suspend mining, as requested by the European Court of Justice. Warsaw does not intend to pay sanctions and does not plan to close the mine.

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“If sanctions are decided, the European Commission will deduct them from the budget payments for Poland, despite the findings of the Polish Constitutional Court that this step would be contrary to our constitutional order,” Gazeta Wyborcza wrote. Tusk has already announced that he intends to continue the protests against the government.

Section At the neighbors
At neighbours.  Learn what's happening in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.At neighbours. Source: DiaryToday, we often know much more about what is happening on the other side of the world than what is happening right at our borders, in the neighboring countries of the Czech Republic. That is why we have decided to bring you news in a light way every Sunday about what is happening “at the neighbors”, ie in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Austria. You will be informed by people who either live in the given countries, such as Tomáš Skřivánek in Slovakia, Martin Kratochvíl in Poland, or work at the border, such as Alexandr Vanžura in Děčín, or Iva Haghofer at the Austrian border in South Moravia. We thank Mr. Vladimír Majer for inspiration to create the section. Sometimes I, the European editor Luboš Palata, also contribute to the column with a Central European perspective. We wish you a nice Sunday reading.

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