The outgoing German Chancellor called on EU leaders to come to a compromise with Poland’s right-wing government after Warsaw was widely condemned for questioning the supremacy of EU law.
Speaking at a summit of EU leaders in Strasbourg on Thursday, future former German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended unity and compromise as other EU leaders demanded that Poland be punished for its decisions to give priority for national law over that of the EU.
The veteran leader warned that a protracted political and legal dispute would benefit no one, especially with the bloc trying to emerge from the pandemic and its associated economic consequences.
As many grow frustrated with failed attempts to convince Warsaw to change course, Merkel has warned against isolating Poland.
“We must find ways and possibilities to meet again on this point, because a cascade of disputes before the European Court of Justice is not a solution”, he added. said Merkel.
While asserting that “The rule of law is at the heart of the European Union”, she argued that a Polexit would not be a positive outcome for the EU or Germany. “Germany does not want Polexit. Poland’s place is in the middle of Europe ”, Merkel said according to a high-level diplomatic source, adding that isolating Warsaw would not solve the problem.
Merkel’s call for compromise has not been universally heard. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said that if Poland wanted the benefits of being in the EU “club”So they had to abide by the club’s rules.
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was difficult to see how EU funds could continue to flow to Poland. “We have to be tough ”, he added.
France was equally demanding, with French President Emmanuel Macron urging Poland to find a solution in line with EU principles.
Also on Thursday, David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, declared that the chamber of legislators “prosecute“the chairman of the committee if she did not respect their demands to withhold EU funds from Poland. For now, the European Commission has banned Poland from exploiting the 36 billion euros in grants and loans intended for Warsaw to help its economy recover from the pandemic.
The Polish nationalist Law and Justice party has often been at odds with the EU, notably on the rule of law as well as on LGBTQ rights. Earlier this month, a Warsaw court ruled that areas of the EU’s treaties were incompatible with Polish laws and that national laws should prevail, supporting a decision by its prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the challenge to the rule of EU law must be punished.
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