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The European Court of Justice said on Wednesday it had ordered Poland to pay one million euros (about $ 1.2 million) every day until it brought its justice system up to standard. of the European Union.

The heavy penalty was “necessary to avoid a serious and irreparable attack on the legal order of the European Union and on the values ​​on which this Union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law”, declared the Luxembourg court in its decision.

The fine follows a controversial ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court, which earlier this month prioritized national laws over those of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Warsaw and Brussels have been at odds since the nationalist Law and Justice Party in Poland came to power in 2015, strongly opposing EU policies on migration, LGBT rights and climate change, among others. The bloc accuses the current Polish leaders of having eroded the checks and balances within the justice system in this eastern European country of 38 million people, as well as of trying to take the justice system under political control .

The European Commission is already withholding from Poland a 36 billion euro subsidy for post-pandemic reconstruction, the new ECJ fine being a new attempt by Brussels to bring Warsaw into line.

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Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister – one of the founding members of the EU – also addressed the ongoing dispute with Poland on Wednesday, saying “You cannot pocket all the money but refuse the values.”

He also responded to recent comments by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who suggested the EU may well start. “a third world war” on its disputes with Poland and promised that his country would defend its rights “with all the weapons at our disposal” if that happens.

According to De Croo, his Polish counterpart was “Playing with fire by waging war on your European colleagues for internal political reasons”.

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