26th Jan 2023

EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law

  • PiS chair Jarosław Kaczyński: 'If the European Commission does not fulfil its obligations towards Poland then we have no reason to fulfil our obligations towards the EU' (Photo:
Listen to article

The European Commission says nothing has changed in its rule of law dispute with Poland after Warsaw threatened to turn its "cannons" on the Brussels-executive.

Poland will not receive €35bn in Covid-19 recovery grants and loans because its judicial reforms still fall short, Arianna Podesta, European Commission spokesperson told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (9 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Poland had adopted a law to replace its disputed disciplinary chamber for judges with a new body.

But the commission says it's not good enough, noting that judges remain at risk.

"Poland needs to fulfil the commitments it made to reform the disciplinary regime," said Podesta, adding that Poland had also not made any payment requests to obtain the funds.

The statements follow a barrage of threats from the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

PiS chair Jarosław Kaczyński and secretary generał Krzysztof Sobolewski both ratcheted up the dispute in comments made over the past few days.

Kaczyński claimed that the European Commission had broken agreements with the Polish government and that Warsaw would no longer fulfil its obligations towards the European Union, without giving details of what he meant.

"If the European Commission does not fulfil its obligations towards Poland then we have no reason to fulfil our obligations towards the EU," he said.

He also claimed the move was a German led plot to create a weak and submissive Poland.

Similar comments were made by Sobolewski, who said Warsaw would take legal action against commission.

He also said efforts would be made to unseat commission president Ursula von der Leyen and her college of commissioners.

"If there is an attempt to block the payment ... and the European Commission tries to pressure us, then we have no choice but to pull out all the cannons in our arsenal and respond with a barrage of fire," he told Polish public radio.

Polish opposition leaders say such threats cannot be taken seriously.

Grzegorz Schetyna of the opposition Civic Platform describe the comments made by Kaczyński as a "symbol of madness and decline."

For its part, the European Commission refused to comment on the threats.

EU approved Poland's recovery fund despite criticism

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is expected to travel to Warsaw on Thursday to announce the move — which comes after a year-long debate over the release of Covid-19 recovery financing.


Greece's spy scandal must shake us out of complacency

The director of Amnesty International Greece on the political spying scandal that now threatens to bring down prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Activists and NGO staff work with the constant fear that they are being spied on.

Poland's legal fixes to collect EU funds come under fire

Unlocking the €35.4bn in grants and loans allocated for Poland as part of the EU's Covid-19 fund is key for the Law & Justice (PiS) government to boost its chances ahead of the upcoming elections in the autumn.

Latest News

  1. Official: EU parliament's weak internal rule-making body leads to 'culture of impunity'
  2. Red tape border logjam for EU's 1.3m 'frontier workers'
  3. Greece's spy scandal must shake us out of complacency
  4. Greek government in no-confidence vote over spying scandal
  5. The legal battle for justice against Kremlin's 'untouchables'
  6. UAE's fossil-fuelled high-tech mirage of a green future
  7. MEP harassment case sheds light on flimsy support for victims
  8. Big Agri's EU lobbying playbook on 'hunger' and a 'refugee crisis'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  2. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  3. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  4. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us