In a resolution adopted with 502 votes for, 153 against, and 16 abstentions, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) called on the European Council and the bloc's executive to find mechanisms to "urgently protect the people of Poland and the Union," the EU legislature said on its website.
The resolution followed a heated plenary debate two days earlier during which Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France that his government would not give in to financial and political "blackmail" over its judicial reforms.
Tuesday's debate was held after a landmark judgement by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, which ruled earlier this month that parts of EU treaties were incompatible with the Polish constitution.
The ruling 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.
MEPs said on Thursday that the Polish Constitutional Tribunal lacked legal validity and independence, and was unqualified to interpret the country’s constitution, according to the europarl.europa.eu website.
They described the Polish top court's decision as "an attack on the European community of values and laws as a whole,” and said that the Constitutional Tribunal itself had been transformed “into a tool for legalising the illegal activities of the authorities.”
EU lawmakers commended "the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters in Poland, who have taken to the streets to protest the Tribunal’s decision, and their desire for a strong democratic Poland at the heart of the European project," according to the European Parliament's website.
MEPs said that, under Poland’s constitution, "the EU Treaties are directly applicable in its legal order, and have precedence in the event of a conflict with domestic law."
They accused the Polish prime minister of “further misusing the judiciary as a tool to achieve his political agenda” and said that Poland remained "voluntarily bound by the Treaties and the case law of the EU Court."