EC president says steps may be taken over constitutional court ruling

During a press conference in Brussels, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson informed journalists on the substance of a Wednesday meeting of the Commissioners’ College at which Von der Leyen had made the announcement. Olivier Hoslet/PAP/EPA

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that an infringement procedure may be launched against Poland over a breach of the rule of law, or steps under Article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union.

Von der Leyen's statement relates to a ruling last week by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal (TK) that several articles of the EU Treaties do not comply with the Polish constitution, calling into question the primacy of European Union law over national legislation.

The supremacy of EU law over national law is a central tenet of EU membership so any challenge to it could spark a serious dispute between Poland and Brussels.

During a press conference in Brussels, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson informed journalists on the substance of a Wednesday meeting of the Commissioners’ College at which Von der Leyen had made the announcement.

According to Simson, the EC president had said the Commission's aim must be to ensure that the rights of Polish citizens are protected and that they could all enjoy the benefits of the EU, like all other citizens.

Simson said that Von der Leyen had stressed that a detailed analysis of the TK ruling was underway but the initial assessment was that it would cause serious problems. Von der Leyen had also presented various responses including a new infringement procedure, application of a conditionality mechanism governing the payout of EU funds, and a procedure under the sanctioning Article 7 of the EU Treaty.