17th Oct 2021


Raw nerves over Polish verdict in EU This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen with Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki during the EU summit last May (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruling, which questions the primacy of EU law, will continue to strain nerves through the bloc this week.

Last Friday (8 October), EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was "deeply concerned" by the verdict and ordered commission services to swiftly analyse the details.

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All member states had signed up to the primacy of EU law when they became members, she added.

"We will use all the powers that we have under the treaties to ensure this," von der Leyen said.

France and Germany said the same in a joint statement.

And Polish opposition leader, former European Council president Donald Tusk, has called for a protest to "defend the European Poland" in Warsaw on Sunday.

But for its part, Hungary backed the Polish government in a special decree, entrenching the conflict on rule of law in Europe.

Meanwhile, von der Leyen will turn her attention to Kyiv on Tuesday, where she will participate in a regular EU-Ukraine summit.

The two sides will discuss anti-corruption reform, Russian aggression against Ukraine, and energy security, amid a spike in gas prices and allegations of Russian market manipulation.

The same day, von der Leyen will also take part in the G20 most developed nations' club talks on Afghanistan.

The following day, commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič is to table "far-reaching proposals" on how to help manage Northern Ireland's customs and open borders after Brexit.

The European Parliament will focus on committees this week.

On Monday, MEPs on the civil-liberties committee will hear from the Danish minister for immigration, Mattias Tesfaye, whose centre-left government has taken an increasingly right-wing line on refugees.

On Thursday, the committee will vote on a media-freedom report aimed at stopping strategic lawsuits against public participation, so-called SLAPPs.

The report calls for an EU anti-SLAPP directive which would provide minimum safeguards for media and civil society.

On Tuesday, MEPs committee will also decide its position on how to strengthen Europol, the EU's joint police agency, to respond faster to terrorist and cybercrime threats.

On Thursday, the EU Parliament's industry committee will quiz energy commissioner Kadri Simson on measures to tackle the drastic energy-price rises across Europe.

But the commission has been saying the price hike was a global phenomenon and there was little it could do.

Still on Thursday, the foreign-affairs committee will celebrate the finalists of the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

And the same day, the budget-control committee will hear from Ville Itälä, the director-general of Olaf, the EU's anti-fraud agency, on how he protected the EU's financial interests in 2020.

On Tuesday, the parliament's environment committee will adopt its negotiating position for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will take place from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow in the UK.

And in the EU Council, employment ministers will meet on Friday to agree conclusions on gender mainstreaming in the EU budget, according to expectations.

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