War of nerves between Poland and Brussels

Between Warsaw and Brussels, the war of nerves around the question of the rule of law continues, and the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, visiting on November 18 and 19 in Warsaw, was able to observe that the tensions are no longer not about to calm down. The Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, bête noire of Brussels and author of the reforms at the heart of the conflict, summed up his meeting with the Commissioner laconically: “We had the opportunity to exchange our points of view and highlight our differences (…). There were also some kind accents. “

Through “Pleasant accents”, the Polish minister had in mind the gift he presented to the commissioner in front of the cameras: two photographs of Warsaw in ruins at the end of the Second World War – one copy intended for his long-time enemy, the vice -President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. “These photographs of the destruction made by the Germans, realizing the ideology of segregation of nations, have a symbolic dimension, underlined the minister. They show that the Poles will always be sensitive to the principle of equal treatment of states, also within the EU. “ The Belgian commissioner remained banned.

Mr Reynders’ visit carried particular weight, in a context of tough behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Polish government and the European Commission. The latter still blocks funds from the post-Covid European recovery plan owed to Poland (36 billion euros), unofficially conditioning them on compliance with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which orders the abolition of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, seen as a tool of political repression of judges. Since October 27, Warsaw is supposed to pay one million euros per day for failure to comply with this judgment.

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In this regard, Mr Reynders’ message was unequivocal: to comply with the CJEU ruling is “The only way out of the crisis”. “It is normal that there are differences between a Member State and the European Commission. But these discussions must stop when a judgment of the Court falls, he repeated several times. If Poland does not respect this judgment, the Commission will apply financial sanctions, because it has a duty to do so. ” By virtue of the judgment, the Polish authorities are also supposed to rehabilitate the judges who are victims of this disciplinary chamber.

But Zbigniew Ziobro, whose microparti Poland Solidarity (SP) no longer even veils its inclinations in favor of a “Polexit”, and which, with its 19 members of the Diet, holds the national-conservative majority hostage with its Europhobic outbidding, has no intention of losing out on this showdown. The day before the commissioner’s visit, a judge was again dismissed from his post by the disciplinary chamber for having referred directly to a judgment of the CJEU, against the opinion of the Ministry of Justice.

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War of nerves between Poland and Brussels