Poland blasts EU ‘interference’ but rejects ‘Polexit’

Warsaw - Poland wants sovereignty and an end to EU "interference" in its internal affairs but will not leave the bloc, the head of the ruling right-wing populist party said on Wednesday.

"There will be no Polexit... We unequivocally see Poland's future in the European Union," Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, told the Polish news agency PAP on Wednesday.

The comments come after senior PiS officials hinted at the possibility of leaving the EU amid an increasingly bitter stand-off with Brussels over Poland's judicial reforms.

In the latest twist in the long-running dispute, the European Commission has asked the EU's top court to impose daily fines on Poland until it suspends the controversial reforms.

"Matters of justice remain the exclusive competence of member states and cannot be subject to the kind of interference that is taking place at the moment," said Kaczynski, who is also a deputy prime minister.

"We want to be in the EU but at the same time we want to remain a sovereign state," he said, adding that EU treaties "are to a large extent no longer valid, or used as a pretext".

"The principle of equality of states is also being violated in a very drastic way," he continued, accusing stronger member states like Germany of "instrumentalisation of the EU".

Poles are overwhelmingly EU-enthusiastic, with over 80 percent backing membership of the bloc that has given their country billions of euros in subsidies, turbo-charging its economic development since it joined in 2004.

But relations between Warsaw and Brussels have become tense in recent days.

Brussels threatens fines against Poland over judiciary ruling (July 2021)

 

- 'Drastic solutions' -

 

The government earlier this month accused the EU executive of "blackmail" over a suggestion the bloc could withhold pandemic recovery funds unless Warsaw accepts the primacy of EU law.

Last week, Ryszard Terlecki, the deputy speaker of parliament, called for "drastic solutions" in Poland's dispute with the EU.

"The British showed that the dictatorship of Brussels bureaucracy does not suit them. They turned and left," he said.

Another senior PiS figure, Marek Suski, said at a ceremony honouring Polish resistance fighters that Poland would "fight the Brussels occupier" just as it did the Nazis and Soviets.

Poland compared to other EU countries

The EU accuses Poland of rolling back democratic freedoms.

The dispute with Brussels has focused on a new system for disciplining judges which the EU says is a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary in Poland.

Poland says the reforms are needed to root out corruption in the judiciary and has ignored an interim order from the EU's Court of Justice to suspend the system.