No EU money for gov’ts who undermine EU values, say MEPs

EU money should be withheld from governments who ‘flagrantly’ undermine EU values, the European Parliament said Thursday, as MEPs condemned Poland for undermining the primacy of EU law. In a resolution, the Parliament in plenary said Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal is ‘illegitimate’ and unfit to interpret Poland’s constitution. They called on the EU Council and Commission to ‘urgently protect the people of Poland and the Union’. Poland had sparked controversy when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal stated that Poland’s Constitution has primacy over EU law.

Following a heated plenary debate Tuesday with the Polish prime minister and Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, MEPs “deeply deplored” the decision of 7 October “as an attack on the European community of values and laws as a whole”, and said that the Tribunal has been transformed “into a tool for legalising the illegal activities of the authorities”. MEPs commended tens of thousands of peaceful protesters in Poland who have taken to the streets to protest the Tribunal’s decision, and their desire for a strong democratic Poland at the heart of the European project. MEPs reiterated their support for Polish judges who still apply the primacy of EU law and refer cases to the European Court of Justice despite the risk to their careers.

In their resolution, MEPs stressed that, according to Poland’s constitution, the EU Treaties, are directly applicable in its legal order, and have precedence in the event of a conflict with domestic law. They accused the Polish prime minister of “further misusing the judiciary as a tool to achieve his political agenda” and say that Poland remains voluntarily bound by the Treaties and the case law of the EU Court.

Parliament is now demanding that no EU taxpayers’ money be given to governments that “flagrantly, purposefully and systematically” undermine European values, calling on the Commission and the Council to act, such as launching infringement procedures and requesting interim measures by the EU Court of Justice, triggering the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, and interrupting or suspending payments, given the risk of “serious deficiencies in control systems”.

MEPs stress that these actions are not intended to punish the people of Poland, but to restore the rule of law in the light of its continued deterioration, and call on the Commission to find mechanisms that would allow for funding to reach its direct beneficiaries. According to a number of polls conducted in Poland in September and October 2021, only 5% of respondents said they would like Poland to leave the EU. As many as 90% positively assessed Poland’s membership of the EU, and 95% thought that EU support had a positive impact on the development of their city or region, higher than the EU average.

Source: EUbusiness


Author: Tuula Pohjola