Poland rejects von der Leyen's EU court challenge option - FM

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish government has dismissed a proposal by Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, that Poland should refer a contested rule-of-law clause in the next EU budget to the bloc's top court.

Von der Leyen suggested on Wednesday that countries that have doubts over a regulation tying observance of the rule of law to access to funds from the next EU budget should take their case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Poland and Hungary, both embroiled in protracted disputes with the EU, oppose the new mechanism linking funding to respect for the rule of law, and have threatened to veto the EU's next seven-year budget.

Zbigniew Rau told PAP: ”Ursula von der Leyen's suggestion in no way lessens Poland's and Hungary's doubts."

He went on to explain that any legislation could be challenged in the CJEU, "but these proceedings last many years while the budget funds would be frozen immediately."

Rau said that EU member states had ratified EU treaties in which they decided "to waive a part, but not all of their authority," adding that the rule-of-law mechanism runs counter to the treaties.

"Additionally, the provisions that have been included in the regulation are unclear, imprecise and offer the Commission's bureaucrats full discretion," Rau added.

As an example, he pointed to the "threat to judicial independence," which, he said, is an imprecise statement that could lead to the Commission making arbitrary decisions that could be "ideologised."

A Polish veto would also block a EUR 750-billion recovery fund to help European economies battered by the coronavirus crisis.

The total package is worth EUR 1.8 trillion.