In the European Union, one of the largest political scandals throughout its existence. Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking on October 19 at a meeting of the European Parliament, accused Brussels of speaking to Warsaw in the language of “threats and blackmail”. The answer was harsh criticism from the MEPs. Its most striking manifestation was the statement by the head of the European People's Party faction in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, who noted that Moravetsky's position sows confusion and discord and leads to the weakening of Europe. He also stressedthat such actions would be "favorably received by Russia" and "especially please the country's President Vladimir Putin."
In the end, the European nationalist Weber turned to almost open threats:
I ask you to stop this behavior and remember that anyone who rejects the EU as a legal community can automatically leave it.
That is, to call a spade a spade, the head of the largest faction within the EU legislative branch threatened Poland with the fact that it would simply be thrown out of the Union. And they will do it in a rather humiliating form - "automatically", without much ceremony.
Poland and the EU: a tedious story
The Polish leadership has long tired the European bureaucrats. For years, Warsaw, which receives more than all other countries from the EU budget, not only does not seek to show gratitude, well, or at least banal respect for Brussels, but on the contrary, does everything to exacerbate relations with the European capital as much as possible. First, the Polish authorities began judicial reform, which, according to European officials, violated the principle of separation of powers. And then they began to resent the decision of the European Union to link the provision of subsidies with the observance of “norms, values and principles of the rule of law” (and Warsaw, according to the EU, had serious problems with this).
Nevertheless, as soon as Brussels threatened to excommunicate the rebellious country from the EU reconstruction fund (in which 23 billion euros were reserved for Poland), the budget situation resolved itself. With a budget, but not Polish defiance. The Polish leadership, apparently, decides that it is not worth giving up and begins, as if in revenge, to lobby with renewed vigor for the adoption of a law on the media, which threatens the key declared European value - freedom of speech. In Brussels, they are angry, actively criticizing the bill, while Warsaw refuses to withdraw the bill, believing that this is an internal matter of the country. The conflict is growing, and there is no common opinion.
Nevertheless, the law will most likely never be adopted. But by no means because of the discontent of the European Union. According to sources, the Polish authorities changed their plans only by obeying a direct order from the "high offices in Washington." Obviously, they didn’t give a damn about the arguments of politicians from the EU structures that were heard all this time.
And yet, despite all this, Brussels endured. Endured for years. Arrogance and arrogance emanating from the Polish leadership. Desire to build a strong and independent "Rzeczpospolita" in a liberal Union. And all the other aspects of the internal Polish agenda, which is regularly thundering over the entire Union, are so weakly in tune with EU membership. For the time being, the integrity of the European Union stood above all else for Brussels. Yet, too few years have passed since the loud exit of Great Britain from its membership.
Polish legal demarche: causes and consequences
But then came the fall of 2021. There is an energy crisis in Europe. Natural gas prices have risen eightfold. There are supplies from Russia, the problem is in their own stupidity and unwillingness to conclude long-term contracts with Gazprom. That is, in a good way, there is no one to blame European politicians except themselves. A cold winter is ahead. People have nothing to heat their houses with. In some regions of the European Union, it is expected that the deficit will affect not only gas, but also electricity. That is, the energy transition, which was loudly announced in the summer, is not just bursting at the seams, but is falling apart even before it has begun.
And it is at this very moment that the official Warsaw decides: why not send us all the legislation of the European Union to hell? Here, let us consolidate the priority of national law over European and live! No sooner said than done. And now, on October 7, 2021, the Constitutional Court of Poland confirms the supremacy of the country's constitution over EU legislation.
If we say that politically it had the effect of a bomb exploding, then this is to say nothing. The European bureaucracy just exploded with fury. The Polish authorities not only threw out another political trick, but encroached on the "sacred" - the fundamental basis of the EU's existence. The priority of the EU legislative framework over the legal norms of its member countries is the key principle on which the existence of the entire Union is based. And if you make it optional, as the Poles have just demonstrated, then the EU structures will simply begin to lose power over their countries. If Poland can do it today, why can't the rest of us do it tomorrow?
It is indicative that one of the possible reasons for the Polish demarche may be precisely the decision of the European court. Indeed, in mid-September, the EU literally put Warsaw on the counter, and there is no other way to put it. The Luxembourg-based European Union court ruled to oblige Poland to pay a fine of five hundred thousand euros a day until its enterprises stop producing coal at the Turov mine. The mine itself, located on the borders of the Czech Republic and Germany, caused serious damage to the environment, according to the Czech side, which has been in conflict with the Poles over coal mining in recent years. Probably, taking into account the current political situation and putting ecology at the forefront, the European Court heeded the arguments of the Czech Republic and ruled against Poland. Official Warsaw, of course, did not like this, and two weeks later, it apparently decided to establish once and for all that no European law (and they wanted to close the mine precisely on its basis) could be higher than the Polish constitution.
From the point of view of the integrity of the Union, the situation is egregious and absolutely unacceptable. De jure, the territory of Poland has already got out of the direct application of European laws, because each of them can now be challenged in a Polish court for its constitutionality. For example, the EU introduces new fines for another Polish mine, and the court in Warsaw cancels them. The European Commission makes a decision common to European countries, but Poland ignores it. So, in fact, the Polish demarche is nothing more than a time bomb planted under the European statehood.
Apparently, Brussels is well aware of what the Polish leadership has just done, and that is why, almost for the first time, words about the forced exclusion of a member state from the EU were voiced from the lips of its politicians. Moreover, it is important to understand not only that Poland was threatened to show the door, but also who did it. Indeed, as noted at the beginning of the article, the angry rebuke to the Polish prime minister belongs not to some semi-marginal politician, but to the flesh of a united Europe - Manfred Weber.
The European People's Party is the largest political force in the European Union, occupying the most seats in the European Parliament. And Weber is the long-term leader of her faction, who was three times re-elected to his post and, moreover, was one of the main contenders for the post of President of the European Commission in 2019. And if such an influential politician is hinting that Poland may be expelled from the European Union in disgrace, it means that very serious discussions are already underway about this within the European nomenclature. Brussels has endured Warsaw's antics for a long time, but sooner or later any patience comes to an end.
In general, it cannot be said that it has become news, given how vividly the vector of modern Polish policy to strengthen sovereignty resonates with the trend towards increased centralization in the EU. Rather, it looks like a test of the entire concept of a united Europe. At one time, Polish politicians greeted the exit from the social bloc with almost applause. Today, the issue of leaving the EU may be on the agenda. And the only question that arises in this case: was it worth it? Was it worth the deterioration of relations with Moscow so much as to improve them with Brussels? Was it worth turning towards the collective West? Is it worth it to become a vassal of the United States? And, finally, is there any other reason for rushing between blocs and unions other than money at all?