Polish justice minister questions legality of EU rule-of-law mechanism

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish justice minister, has moved to ask the country's Constitutional Tribunal to rule whether the EU's new mechanism that ties EU fund payouts to the rule of law in a member state is in line with Poland's constitution.

The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, agreed to the new mechanism along with 26 other EU leaders last December, but said Poland would ask the Court of Justice of the European Union whether the solutions are legal under EU law. Later on, Poland and Hungary did send such motions to the EU's top court and the case is still pending.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Ziobro said he had been against the new EU mechanism and pointed out that it was the prime minister who had decided to sign it.

The justice minister said he was convinced that the new EU rules "are totally incompatible with Poland's constitution."

"Therefore I decided to send a motion to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal today for the Polish constitutional court to verify this conditionality directive," Ziobro said.

He said the mechanism paved the way for abuses by the EU bodies that had decided "to reformulate their authority," violating EU treaties and the Polish constitution.

Poland and Hungary have been in conflict with the EU for several years. Brussels accuses the conservative governments in Warsaw and Budapest of infringing upon EU values set forth in EU treaties, including rule of law, rights of sexual minorities and media freedom.