EU Parliament calls Polish top court 'illegitimate'

2021-10-21 20:55 update: 2021-10-21, 20:57
Fot. PAP/EPA/Albert Zawada
Fot. PAP/EPA/Albert Zawada
The European Parliament (EP) has passed a resolution labelling Poland's Constitutional Tribunal as “illegitimate” after it issued a ruling that challenged the supremacy of EU law.

The ruling, issued earlier this month, increased tensions between Warsaw and Brussels, and led to calls that EU funding should be withheld from Poland until it reverses changes to the judicial system that some claim undermine the rule of law.

Thursday's EP resolution was drafted by five factions, including the largest in the parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), and was supported by 502 MEPs, with 153 votes against and 16 abstentions.

In the text of the resolution the authors say they "deeply deplore the decision of the illegitimate tribunal on 7 October, 2021 as an attack on the European community of values and laws as whole." 

The document also expressed concerns that the Tribunal's decision may set a dangerous precedent, and called upon EU member states to respect rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

It also said that the parliamentarians "deeply regret the illegal decision of the Constitutional Tribunal."

In a July ruling, the CJEU ordered Poland to shut down a disciplinary panel at the Supreme Court, saying that it lacked independence and could be used by the government to silence defiant judges, but Poland has failed to comply, so far.

Critics of Poland's conservative government say the constitutional court's verdict was a political ploy allowing the government not to implement certain decisions coming from Brussels.

The MEPs said in the resolution that the Polish Tribunal's ruling should be regarded "as an attack on the European community of values and laws as a whole."

They also said that the Tribunal has been transformed "into a tool for legalising the illegal activities of the authorities."

The EP also called for financial penalties for Poland as a result of the ruling.

"Parliament demands that no EU taxpayers' money be given to governments that 'flagrantly, purposefully and systematically' undermine European values," the EP said in a news release published on its website. (PAP)