PM says Polish constitution stands above European law

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish prime minister has stated that the Polish constitution has primacy over European law and that the proposals made by the European Commission do not correspond to the real state of affairs.

Mateusz Morawiecki also declared he will not withdraw his motion asking the Constitutional Tribunal to decide whether the Polish constitution stands above EU law.

In a letter sent to Europe Minister Konrad Szymanski, Didier Reynders, the EU’s justice commissioner, appealed for the withdrawal of the prime minister's motion.

In late March, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked the Polish Constitutional Tribunal to check if three points of the Treaty on the European Union were compatible with the Polish constitution. In one of the points, Morawiecki raised doubts as to whether EU law had primacy over Poland's supreme law.

Morawiecki said on Thursday that the motion had been filed with the Constitutional Tribunal "in order to once again and additionally confirm the supremacy of the Polish constitution, which is the highest legal act in the Polish legal system - over EU law."

The prime minister referred to the Polish top court's rulings regarding Poland's accession process to the EU and the Lisbon Treaty.

"Every time, the Tribunal ruled that if there is a collision of legal regulations, they either must be changed or the constitution must be changed if they are not. And this is the logic of the EU membership," he said.

Morawiecki added that this has also been understood by constitutional tribunals of other member countries, even though "they are not a very significant reference point for us."

"What is most important for us is the opinion of the Constitutional Tribunal," Morawiecki said, explaining that he had decided to ask the top court "since there is a possibility of a potential collision."

The Commission is concerned about this motion as it calls into question the fundamental principles of EU law, and in particular the primacy of EU law, the EU’s justice commissioner's spokesperson Christian Wigand said on Thursday.

All rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are binding for the authorities of member states, including national courts, Wigand added.

That is why the Commission is requesting the withdrawal of the prime minister's motion, Wigand went on to say, adding that Poland has been given a month to respond.

The European Commission accuses Poland of politicising the justice system because the top judicial self-governing body, the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), is now dominated by ruling party politicians. Poland has also introduced a new disciplinary body at the Supreme Court that can strip judges of immunity, but this body is not recognised by the CJEU.