Justice min blames PM for rule-of-law ruling

Ziobro, who is leader of Solidary Poland, a junior party in the United Right coalition, rounded on Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, for agreeing to the mechanism. Rafał Guz/PAP

Zbigniew Ziobro has accused the Polish prime minister of making a “historic mistake” after a European court rejected a Polish-Hungarian complaint against the EU's funding-for-rule-of-law mechanism.

Under the mechanism, EU funding to a member state could be cut if it fails to uphold the rule of law. Both the Polish and Hungarian governments have been accused of undermining the rule of law in their respective countries.

The mechanism was agreed upon by negotiators from the European Parliament and the German presidency of the EU in November 2020, and then approved by the ambassadors of the member states.

Ziobro, who is leader of Solidary Poland, a junior party in the ruling United Right coalition, rounded on Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, for agreeing to the mechanism.

"This is proof of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's serious, historic mistake in accepting (the mechanism - PAP) at the 2020 Brussels summit, a regulation which today serves to put pressure on Poland by means of economic blackmail," Ziobro said.

Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the United Right's dominant party, Law and Justice, expressed disappointment at Ziobro's statement.

"The event might be a subject for discussion, for example, internally in our coalition, the government, but I am disappointed that such a statement was made publicly, because it's surely our common issue and that common issue is, among other matters, maintaining our sovereignty," Kaczyński said. "Of course, that's a super-important matter, but we also have others. That's why I'm a little surprised at the minister, but these things happen in politics, not just here but in all countries.

"We need to put this to one side and move forward," Kaczyński continued. "But of course we will not set aside the issue itself, the issue of defending Polish sovereignty."

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Wednesday dismissed Poland's and Hungary's complaints concerning the mechanism.

In December 2020, the EU decided to introduce the mechanism into its 2021-2027 budget. Poland and Hungary were the only two countries in the 27-member European bloc to oppose this clause.