German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the EU to seek a compromise in the ongoing rule of law conflict with Poland, the German news agency DPA has reported.
The EU has accused Law and Justice, Poland's ruling party, of politicising the justice system, but the country's conservative government maintains its overhaul of the judiciary is merely a way of re-organising the system in Poland.
“A cascade of legal disputes before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is not a solution to the problem of how to live in accordance with rule of law,” said Merkel, who will be officially recalled on Tuesday but will serve as chancellor until the new head of government takes office.
Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said upon arrival at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday that he “will not yield to the pressure of blackmail.”
The European Commission has been withholding the release of EUR 36 billion in EU post-pandemic recovery money for Poland, which some commentators see as a consequence of Poland not complying with CJEU verdicts.
In a July ruling, the CJEU ordered Poland to shut down a disciplinary panel at the Supreme Court, saying that it lacks independence and can be used by the government to silence defiant judges.
Despite the ruling party leader's declaration that the government will close down the panel, nothing has been done to implement the CJEU ruling yet.
In the most recent development, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal challenged the supremacy of EU law. The Court indicated that EU law takes precedence over Polish laws only within the scope of delegated powers. According to the Court, allowing the EU to create norms outside this area and giving them priority would mean a loss of sovereignty.
The ruling has prompted the European Commission to warn Poland of possible repercussions because it considers the ruling and changes to the Polish judicial system to be at odds with European law.