UPDATED: War of words in Strasbourg as Polish PM rejects Council, Commission accusations

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Updated 1015 – Polish PM accuses EU of overstepping competences

Poland rejects European Union centralism, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday and accused the bloc of overstepping its competences, amid a deepening row with Brussels over the rule of law.

“EU competencies have clear boundaries, we must not remain silent when those boundaries are breached. So we are saying yes to European universalism, but we say no to European centralism,” Morawiecki told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Brussels has long said reforms introduced by Poland’s right-wing government undermine judicial independence, but their row escalated this month when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal challenged a key tenet of EU integration by ruling that parts of the European treaties were incompatible with the constitution


The European Commission is assessing options to respond to a Polish court ruling that questioned the supremacy of European Union law, but there is no question that the bloc’s executive will take action, its chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

“The European Commission is, at the moment, carefully assessing this judgement,” she told the European Parliament in Strasbourg ahead of a speech by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

“But I can already tell you: I am deeply concerned. This ruling calls into question the foundations of the European Union. It is a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order.”

This message was echoed by Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar, The primacy of European Union law over countries’ national law is vital to the functioning of the EU, and losing it would destroy the bloc’s single market, Slovenia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said on Tuesday.

“Primacy of EU law is the way to guarantee the equal quality of member states before the treaties, and to ensure that all Union citizens enjoy the same rights,” Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar told the European Parliament. Removing the primacy of EU law “would destroy the level playing field and single market,” he said.

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