The EU’s judicial imperialism

The European Commission has begun legal action against Poland over the rule of law. “The heaviest artillery has been drawn up against Poland,” writes Jacek Karnowski

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Jacek Karnowski
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

Recent rulings from Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal have stipulated that national law can take precedence over EU law, raising tensions with Brussels and prompting the EU’s move toward legal action. The European Commission on Wednesday announced it was starting an infringement procedure against Poland “for undermining EU law and the independence of its national judiciary.”

It means that the European Commission does not want compromise, it wants capitulation. It is demanding more and more and has been creating new fronts and conflicts. Its goal is to turn Poland, and later other countries — with the exception of the strongest ones which direct it — into actual colonies of EU institutions.

Now, the Commission has targeted the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. It has done so because the Tribunal has been building a “constitutional shield” meant to prevent the externally inspired anarchy in the judiciary and protect Poland against the European Court of justice (ECJ) judicial imperialism.

According to the Commission, the Polish Tribunal “no longer meets the requirements of an independent and impartial court established by law, as demanded by the EU treaty.”

How could it fulfill these requirements if it has been making the decisions that it has?

Everything that the EU does not like, that is an obstacle to it, “does not meet the requirements.” If it is not obstacle and abides to clear and hidden instructions, then it is legal European and of exemplary.

It is hard to not get the impression that the Commission, irritated by the independence of the Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal (which has an obligation to defend sovereignty!), is exacting its revenge. It wants to give a harsh lesson to all of Europe, which is about ensuring that no one else will reach for the constitutional shield. The victim is meant to be silent and has no right to defend themselves.

Yet, there is also something else in the Commission’s decision: the correct assertion that the Tribunal plays an absolutely crucial role in the Polish state system. This is how it was designed during the last days of communism in Poland in the 1980s. It was meant to be a third chamber of parliament, able to block any deeper attempts at reforming the country. This is why the Poland’s tribunal court received such powerful authority.

When the court fell out of the hands of Poland’s liberal establishment, its fringe turned against its previous bearers. The Tribunal is more effective at changing how the country works than parliament, which is always at risk of a presidential veto, which is why the Tribunal is a key bulwark in the fight for independence.

Now, the heaviest artillery has been drawn up against Poland.

Our own weapons are of a smaller caliber. This is why Poles cannot be intimidated if they want to win. This is what Brussels is hoping, by believing that Poles will finally want to be left alone, even at the cost of their independence.

So, Poles must fight — on the constitutional battleground and every other. The Polish right cannot give up Poland’s independence, even if it means paying a very high price for it.

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