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Poland v the primacy of EU law

by IdiotSavant Wed Jul 14th, 2021 at 11:04:57 PM EST

Poland's constitutional court has decided to ignore the primacy of EU law:

Poland's top court has ruled that measures imposed by the European court of justice against the country's controversial judicial reforms are unconstitutional, in a decision that could have far-reaching implications for the bloc's legal order.

Judge Stanislaw Piotrowicz said on Wednesday that Poland's constitutional court had reached a majority verdict that EU measures regarding the "system, principles and procedures" of Polish courts were "not in line" with the Polish constitution.

The ruling came hours after the ECJ again demanded immediate suspension of a newly established body to oversee Polish supreme court judges, with powers to lift their immunity from prosecution or cut their salaries.

The confrontation is expected to ratchet up further on Thursday, when the EU court is due to issue another ruling on the disciplinary chamber's legitimacy and Poland's constitutional court - widely viewed as unlawful following a series of appointments of PiS loyalists - could announce its decision in a wider, even more consequential case on whether Polish law has primacy over EU law in general.


It is fundamental to the European Union that EU law prevails over that of member states. Some states explicitly recognise this in their constitutions. Others rely on their jurisprudence regarding treaties to apply the Treaty of Lisbon's declaration that EU law takes precedence. Poland's action directly contradicts this and puts it in violation of its obligations as an EU member. Doing this in a case over fundamental EU principles - judicial independence and the rule of law - makes it even worse. The question is, what is the EU going to do about it?

(As for Poland, if this is the final judgement of its court, then it needs to either amend its constitution to ensure conformity with EU law, or leave the EU. Because it is clear it cannot remain an EU member in these legal circumstances).

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Possibly related diaries from last year (another EU country - same problem):

Karlsruhe and German exceptionalism - by Frank Schnittger - Wed May 20th, 2020

The Primacy of EU law - by Frank Schnittger - Mon May 25th, 2020

Countering Karlsruhe - by Frank Schnittger - Thu May 28th, 2020

by Bernard on Thu Jul 15th, 2021 at 07:57:49 PM EST


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