EU too focused on imagined problems, PM tells Spanish daily

The EU is more focused on imagined problems than real challenges, Poland's prime minister wrote in an article published on Friday in Spain's leading daily newspaper, El Mundo.

In the article, entitled "Poland is not leaving the EU," Mateusz Morawiecki explained Poland's position in its rule-of-law dispute with the EU. He also refuted speculation that the conflict was part of a covert Polish government plan to lead the country out of the EU.

The dispute, centred mainly around changes to the Polish justice system that the EU sees as damaging to judicial independence, escalated recently after the Polish Constitutional Tribunal questioned the primacy of EU law over national law, a key tenet of EU membership.

The European Commission has warned Poland that it may withhold funding from an EU post-pandemic recovery fund if it does not reverse some of its changes the EC contests.

But Morawiecki wrote that Poland had no intention of leaving the EU, but wanted Brussels to stop intimidating and penalising member states who "defend their own opinions."

"Poland is and will remain an EU member," wrote the prime minister. "We are an integral part of the EU, a union which should reject the language of blackmail, coercion and the punishing of those who defend their own opinions. We must settle our disputes through debate, even if this means hard and lengthy talks."

Morawiecki wrote that Poland respected European law but did not recognise its primacy over the Polish constitution. He added that the primacy rule applied only in some areas, and stressed that constitutional pluralism in the EU was necessary to maintain a balance between the member states' legal systems and EU law.

"The EU treaties state precisely which competencies the member countries cede to the Community and which remain their exclusive domain. The primacy rule means EU laws have primacy... in areas which lie within the EU's competencies," he wrote.

Morawiecki wrote that the EU was in a difficult position after the Covid-19 pandemic, but was concentrating on "imagined problems it has largely created for itself," instead of dealing with real challenges like the energy crisis or migration problems.

He warned that the EU had to remain united in the face of today's challenges, and called the rule-of-law conflict with Poland "a convenient excuse to avoid concrete action."

As examples of what the EU has to cope with, Morawiecki named Russia's use of gas as means to apply international pressure, and the migration problem now afflicting Poland’s, Lithuania’s and Latvia’s borders with Belarus.

"Russia is using gas to blackmail countries, to coerce them into decisions that comply with its interests," Morawiecki said.

Morawiecki's article also appeared in leading press titles in Portugal, Belgium and Germany.