EU warned Poland will use any weapons at our disposal if bloc starts third world war

Ursula von der Leyen 'concerned' over Polish court ruling

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The European Parliament plenary takes place this week. During Wednesday’s session, MEP’s will assess recent events in Poland that might increase the country’s risk of moving further away from European values. They will likely discuss the Polish Constitutional Court’s ruling last month that part of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was incompatible with the Polish constitution.

The Polish court found article six of the convention, which guarantees the right to a fair trial, was incompatible as it gives the European Court of Human Rights the right to question the legality of the appointment of judges to the Polish tribunal.

The European court’s job is to enforce the convention, but ruled in May that a Polish company was denied a fair trial as the case had been reviewed by a Constitutional Tribunal judge whose appointment was considered illegal.

MEP’s also remain concerned about the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Poland, with fears expected to be raised over government proposals to oblige doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages in one centralised register.

This register could be in place as early as next month.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, warned back in October that Poland would be punished should the country continue to defy the supremacy of EU law.

Brussels threatened fines, funding cuts and being stripped of voting rights.

However, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hit back.

Speaking to the Financial Times in October, he accused the bloc of putting a “gun to our head”.

He said: “What is going to happen if the European Commission will start the third world war? If they start the third world war, we are going to defend our rights with any weapons which are at our disposal.

“If someone attacks us in a completely unfair way, we will defend ourselves in any possible manner. We feel that this is an already discriminatory and a diktat type of approach.

“But if this is going to be even worse, we will have to think about our strategy.”

Mr Morawiecki’s spokesperson, Piotr Muller, sought to clarify the World War Three reference.

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He said: “This should not be taken literally. This is a hyperbole, a rhetorical procedure that is used in all kinds of interviews and in literature and in all kinds of written and oral interviews.”

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has delayed approval of €36 billion in pandemic recovery funding for Poland as the feud rages on, but pressure remains for further action to be taken under the “conditionality mechanism”. This would allow the EU to suspend, reduce or restrict access to EU finding in a manner proportionate to the nature, gravity and scope of the rule breaches.

Both Poland and Hungary have already challenged this mechanism in court.

Amid threats in October of daily fines until domestic laws on the judiciary are changed, Mr Morawiecki said a withdrawal or delay of such threats would be the “wisest thing to do”.

He told the Financial Times: “Then we are not talking to each other with a gun to our head.

“Fortunately this is a political process. And political processes can be stopped by politicians.”

Amid more recent threats that the conditionality mechanism should be used, Poland’s justice minister slammed the bloc over “blackmail”.

Zbigniew Ziobro heads a small party whose votes help Mr Morawiecki’s government maintain a wafer-thin majority, urged the EU to back down.

He told the FT on Sunday: “Poland should respond to EU’s blackmail with a veto on all matters that require unanimity in the EU.

“Poland should also revise its commitment to EU climate and energy policy, which results in drastic hikes of energy prices.

“If this dispute escalates, I will demand that Poland suspends its EU contributions. It would be justifiable since the EU illegitimately denies us funds from a joint budget that we also contribute to.”

The ongoing row has sparked debate about Poland’s future within the EU.

Mr Ziobro’s United Poland party is much more openly Eurosceptic than Mr Morawiecki’s Law and Justice party. He said in August that Poland should not stay in the bloc “at any price”.

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