Polish Deputy Prime Minister Warns Bullying EU Heading for ‘Auto-Destruction’

WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images
WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Poland’s deputy prime minister has warned that the European Union (EU) risks heading down the path towards “auto-destruction” if it undermined Polish sovereignty by trying to block domestic reforms aimed at increasing the accountability of Polish judges.

“This is a dramatic moment in the history of the European Union,” observed Jarosław Gowin in an interview with Do Rzeczy.

“If the [Court of Justice of the European Union] in Luxembourg considers itself competent to support a position of a small group of Polish judges, it will be fuel for eurosceptic communities across Europe,” warned the Polish leader.

“This will undermine the fundamental EU idea of the sovereignty of nation-states.”

Poland’s conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) government recently passed new legislation aimed at reforming a judiciary which it sees as corrupt and nepotistic, having been shaped in large part by the outgoing Communist regime at the close of the Cold War.

But some of the old guard impacted by the changes, including senior judges who now face mandatory retirement at the age of 65, have appealed to Brussels to step in and block the reforms.

Top eurocrats citing a supposed threat to judicial “independence” have been happy to oblige, despite having been suspiciously quiet when the previous Civic Platform (PO) government — a europhile administration which had been compliant on the issue of EU-mandated migrant quotas — was alleged to be packing the courts with sympathisers shortly before it was voted out of office.

Deputy Prime Minister Gowin suggested that, should the EU court insist on interfering in Poland’s domestic affairs, the government would “probably have no choice but to… ignore the ruling of the ECJ as contrary to the Treaty of Lisbon and the whole spirit of European integration”.

Asked if such a bold move could be the first step towards a so-called Polexit, or Polish exit from the European Union, the lawmaker replied: “No, it will be the first step towards the auto-destruction of the EU.

“And it will not be the Polish government that is doing this, but the ECJ,” he added.

The Polish leader’s warning comes as the European Union establishment faces increasing resistance across the continent.

The United Kingdom is currently preparing to leave the bloc entirely — albeit slowly — while eurosceptic leaders who oppose the lax immigration policy which has been driven by Brussels and Berlin hold sway not just in Poland, but in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Italy has arguably become the bloc’s biggest headache in recent months, with the election of a populist coalition government comprised of Luigi Di Maio’s anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S) and Matteo Salvini’s League (Lega).

Indeed, Mr Salvini, who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, has responded to EU efforts to have him punished for hindering the arrival of African and Asian migrants in Italy’s ports by branding the European project “unprecedented filth that doesn’t deserve our money”.

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