Poland’s ruling conservatives have been accused by the opposition of effectively preparing an exit from the European Union, after the country’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled last Thursday that parts of EU treaties were incompatible with the Polish constitution.
The verdict added to a long-running dispute between the Polish government and EU institutions. It appeared to question a key tenet of European integration and threatened to escalate tension between Warsaw and Brussels.
Commenting on the controversy in a Facebook post late on Sunday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote: “Polexit is fake news. It’s a harmful myth that the opposition employs to cover up its lack of ideas on how to secure an appropriate position for Poland in Europe.”
He added: “People use such methods when they live on delusions instead of facts, when they want to fool themselves and others.”
Morawiecki also said in his Facebook post that constitutional courts in other member states "have in the past made similar rulings" as their Polish counterpart. Specifically, he wrote, they ruled that EU institutions were sometimes guilty of overstepping the powers granted to them in treaties, “clashing with national constitutions in the process.”
Such verdicts have been given by constitutional tribunals in "France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and Romania," Morawiecki said, adding the Polish court had earlier ruled to this effect, too.
'All obligations ... remain in force'
“All obligations arising from the bloc’s regulations remain in force,” Morawiecki declared. “The Union is too serious a Community to spin some fairytale about it.“
‘It’s a place of mutual benefits, but also real challenges for all the member states,” Morawiecki added. “Challenges which Poland must stand up to as a partner.”
Earlier on Sunday, Donald Tusk, a former prime minister and now leader of Poland's main opposition party Civic Platform (PO), led a pro-EU demonstration in Warsaw’s Castle Square.
“I feel obligated to raise the alarm after the decisions of the 'pseudo-tribunal' and the governing party, which has now decided, without 'beating around the bush,' to take Poland out of the EU,” Tusk, a former head of the European Council, said, as quoted by state news agency PAP.
“They want to leave the EU to be able to violate civil rights and democratic principles with impunity,” Tusk told the gathering.
Immediately after the ruling last week, Morawiecki said that by judging some articles of the bloc’s treaties unconstitutional in the country, the Constitutional Tribunal confirmed the primacy of the national constitution over EU law.
The Polish foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the country's Constitutional Tribunal "reaffirmed the hierarchy of the sources of law" in the country and across the European Union.
It also said that "all obligations arising from both primary and secondary European Union law remain in force and thus, will continue to be fully respected by Poland."
'There will not be any Polexit'
The leader of Poland's governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, last month ruled out any plans to take his country out of the EU, saying that "there will not be any Polexit whatsoever."
He added that "such claims" were "a propaganda trick," employed "repeatedly" by his party's political opponents.
"We see Poland's future unequivocally in the EU, but want to resolve the crisis currently besetting the bloc," Kaczyński said in a media interview at the time.