Polexit warning: PM threatens EU over £104bn ‘blackmail’ amid court sovereignty row

Germany calls on Poland to "fully" implement EU law

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Poland and the EU are locked in a bitter battle in the wake of court ruling confirming the nation’s constitutional rights and power over the bloc. The Polish Prime Minister has accused the bloc of “starving” the nation with threats to withhold Covid recovery funds, adding the institution risks collapse if it continues to blackmail Warsaw.

Relations between the bloc and several eastern European nations have reached new lows in recent months and years.

Primarily worsening tensions have pivoted on accusations of backsliding on rights.

Now the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned the EU will collapse if it continues to blackmail Poland.

In a letter addressed to EU leaders, the Polish leader said the bloc is “starving” and “punishing” his nation by withholding billions of euros in Covid recovery funds amid the ongoing sovereignty row.

A landmark court ruling was made in Poland earlier this month essentially circumventing the EU’s power to interfere with the nation’s justice system.

The ruling brought about an end to a five-year feud between the bloc and Poland.

The move has been taken as an intensification of the battle between the EU and Poland over radical justice system reforms – which has seen Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) party Government embroiled in several battles with Brussels in recent months.

But EU officials condemned the move as the first step towards “Polexit”.

The court ruling put Warsaw and Brussels on a full collision course with many calling it a direct challenge to the EU’s authority.

The Polish PM shared his delight at the news at the time of the ruling but now has issued a warning to the bloc related to withheld funds.

Poland is expected to receive €121 billion (£104 billion) from the EU this year.

The Dutch parliament has passed a resolution calling for the money to be held back and the European Commission has said it will use “all its powers” to ensure EU law is respected.

Mr Morawiecki said: “The language of financial blackmail, punishment, ‘starving’ of unsubordinated states, undemocratic and centralist pressures do not have a place in European politics.

“Such language strikes not only at individual states but the entire community.”

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The nation’s leader insisted Poland remains a “loyal member” of the EU – but warned the bloc risked becoming “deprived of democratic control” if it did not protect member states’ sovereignty.

The nation’s PM said the Government has no intention of following Britain’s example and leaving the bloc.

But he warned against a “dangerous phenomenon that threatens the future of our Union”.

Mr Morawiecki added “we ought to be anxious”

He wrote: “I mean the gradual transformation of the Union into an entity that would cease to be an alliance of free, equal and sovereign states – and become one, centrally managed organism, governed by institutions deprived of democratic control.

“If we do not stop this phenomenon, all will feel its negative effects. Today it may concern just one country – tomorrow, under a different pretext, another.”

Mr Morawiecki has maintained it is usual for constitutional courts across Europe to make similar rulings and accused the commission of trying to overrule the tribunal.

He added “no sovereign state” could accept the EU usurping powers “they do not have under the treaties and impose their will on member states” because it was “illegal” and “dangerous to the continuation of the European Union”.

The PM said this behaviour subordinated national governments to “the practically unlimited power of centrally managed institutions deprived of democratic control”.

In effect, this power grab would turn the EU into “an organisation that contradicts our common values: freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity”, Mr Morawiecki added.

Brussels is expected to trigger a new mechanism which would allow the bloc to withhold budget payments to member states not respecting the EU’s democratic standards within days.

On Thursday, an EU summit is scheduled during which another battle between the bloc and eastern EU states is likely.

The summit will also likely raise Huxit concerns after a contentious European Council meeting this summer saw the nation’s PM Viktor Orban attacked over homophobic censorship laws.

Mr Orban publicly backed Poland amid the EU law calling on the bloc to “respect member states’ sovereignty.”

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