Why the EU is being accused of ‘blackmail’ by Poland – could it lead to ‘polexit’?

Germany calls on Poland to "fully" implement EU law

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Poland’s leaders have warned the European Union (EU) they will not give in to any “blackmail” as tensions continue to rise between the bloc and the nation’s leaders. The drama between the two is the latest in a long-running confrontation which some experts believe could eventually lead to “Polexit” – Poland’s withdrawal from the EU.

The words were said by Jarosław Kaczyński, the country’s de facto leader and chief of the ruling Law and Justice party, ahead of a meeting of the European Council on Thursday and Friday.

However, the chairman of the ruling party Mr Kaczyński, is adamant he does not back a so-called “Polexit”.

In a missive to fellow EU leaders, Prime Minister Mateusz Moraweicki called on the bloc to be “open to dialogue”.

He said: “I wish to reassure you that Poland remains a loyal member of the European Union.

READ MORE: Polexit warning: PM threatens EU over £104bn ‘blackmail’

“We are obliged to do so to the extent required in the Treaties.

“Not one iota less — and not one iota more.”

He also said the EU will collapse if it continues to blackmail Poland.

He claimed the bloc is “starving” and “punishing” his nation by withholding billions of euros in Covid recovery funds amid the ongoing sovereignty row.

Why is the EU being accused of blackmail?

It comes after a recent court ruling in Poland that deemed EU laws break Poland’s constitution.

The tribunal ruled: “The effort by the Court of Justice of the European Union to interfere in the Polish justice system violates the principle of rule of law, the principle of the primacy of the Polish constitution as well as the principle of retaining sovereignty in the process of European integration.”

The question was submitted by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on whether the Court of Justice of the EU is going too far in its rulings on Poland’s judicial system and exceeds its competencies under the European Treaties.

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On Tuesday, Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that the European Commission – the EU’s executive – was “carefully assessing this judgement”.

She said: “This ruling calls into question the foundations of the European Union.

“It is a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order.”

Ms von der Leyen set out three options for the EU to pursue: legally challenging the court ruling, withholding EU funds, or suspending some of Poland’s rights as a member state.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said he’ll push to freeze Poland’s money.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already cautioned EU countries and the European Parliament against rushing to block Poland’s £48 billion Covid recovery funds.

Unlike the UK before its Brexit referendum in 2016, support for membership of the EU remains high in Poland.

Mass protests have been held this month by Poles who back continuing membership of the bloc.

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