PM defends Poland's rule-of-law position ahead of EP debate

Morawiecki said the European community of nations should be based on "authentic equality." Paweł Supernak/PAP

Poland's prime minister told parliament on Thursday that while Poland had ceded certain powers to the EU, it had not relinquished its sovereignty, and wished to remain loyal to its constitution.

Mateusz Morawiecki was addressing the Sejm (lower house of parliament) ahead of a debate he will take part in next Tuesday at the European Parliament on a recent Constitutional Tribunal ruling that the Polish constitution takes precedence over EU law.

Morawiecki told the house that in its EU accession agreement, Poland had ceded certain powers to the bloc. "We call those competences exclusive EU competences, they are strictly defined... Those competences Poland has entrusted but - dear God - entrusted, not relinquished sovereignty. We never relinquished sovereignty in the accession treaty," he said.

The prime minister went on to say that if Poland wanted to be faithful to its constitution, it had to defend its autonomy, "and that is what we are doing. That is what we stand for."

Morawiecki said the European community of nations should be based on "authentic equality."

"That's why the Polish Constitutional Tribunal on October 7 did not question the European treaties, but only issued a judgement in defence of Polish sovereignty, and justified it beautifully, just like several other constitutional tribunals of the member states," he said.

He added that opposition politicians consider EU law above national legislation, but if that were the case, then Poland would cease to be a sovereign nation. "Poland would then be some region in an abstract European superstate, but it would not be a sovereign Poland and we don't want that," he said.

"We say 'no' to a single European state, with one capital in Brussels, we say 'no' to Brussels centralisation, we say 'no' to a United States of Europe," Morawiecki told the house.

He argued that Europe's strength had always been diversity and that his government supported that diversity. "That diversity is also the diversity of legal orders, it is also the diversity in the pace of development and in the stage of development we find ourselves at," he continued.

"In that situation, we undertook one of the most important reforms - reform of the judicial system - and for that we are being attacked in the EU and by the CJEU (European Court of Justice - PAP)," prime minister added.

Morawiecki said he wanted an EU that solved the problems of ordinary citizens rather than an EU that implemented "worldview revolutions." He added that he wanted an EU that took care of the interests of its 450 million citizens, including Poles, rather than the "whims of bureaucrats."

He argued that if the EU is to remain democratic, the member states must make decisions, rather than CJEU judges. He said he respected judges but that it was not for them to establish a new order, but merely to judge within the existing one.