Statement on Poland’s court ruling on EU law

Updated: May 11

On 7th October 2021, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that national legislation has supremacy over European Union law. This ruling goes on to claim that certain parts of the EU treaties go against Poland’s highest law. This ruling threatens the very foundations of our Union's legal order that is based on the supremacy of European law.

This ruling is especially concerning following well grounded accusations that Poland’s ruling party, the Law and Justice Party, has been taking steps to cease control of the country’s judiciary. In fact, the European Court of Justice ruled last March that the changes occurring in Poland’s judiciary system are unlawful under EU law, and it does not recognise the authority of the Constitutional Tribunal which is currently ruled by government-appointed judges.

JEF Malta wishes to express grave concern on this state of affairs. The rule of law in Poland and the rights of Polish citizens are slowly diminishing under a government that has repeatedly shown contempt for the integrity of the EU and its legal order.

We also condemn the difficult position that Polish judges are faced with. Where they must now assess whether they are allowed to apply EU law if its application would violate domestic constitutional law. This will put judges in a position where they are at risk of disciplinary action if they apply EU law over Polish law.

The Rule of law demands an independent judiciary, and until this once again becomes a reality in Poland, the very basis of its democracy will be put into question. JEF Malta firmly believes that a member state cannot be allowed to disregard such fundamental European values. We call for the full enforcement of human rights as afforded by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union's status as supreme Union law.

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