EU Demands Poland Cough Up €70 Million Over Refusal to Pay Bloc’s Fines

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 25: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki looks on during a joint press conference with the German Chancellor after talks on November 25, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by John MacDougall - Pool/Getty Images)
ohn MacDougall - Pool/Getty Images

The European Commission has demanded that Poland cough up €70 million in fines the nation has so far refused to pay.

Poland has been instructed to cough up €70 million in fines by the European Commission, having yet refused to pay the penalties imposed by the European Court of Justice.

The court had previously instructed the country to pay €1 million in fines per day after the country refused to suspend its overhaul of the nation’s judiciary.

According to a report by Reuters, the commission has now issued an official “call for payment” to Warsaw, demanding that the nation surrender around €70 million or it will deduct the amount from Poland’s share of the bloc’s budget.

“After analyzing the reply from Poland to a letter from 22 December, the European Commission has concluded that Poland failed to provide evidence that it complies with the order issued by the Court of Justice,” a commission spokesman said, according to a report by Politico.

“The measures so far adopted by the Polish authorities had already been brought to the attention of the vice president of the Court in the context of the Court proceedings and deemed as insufficient,” the spokesman continued.

Poland — a former Soviet satellite state — has previously claimed that its overhaul of the judiciary was necessary for the purpose of removing communist influence from the institution, but members of the ruling Law and Justice party have since said they will attempt to rectify any legal issues.

“Poland will take legal steps to prevent violations of the EU treaties,” said one spokesman for the Polish government, Piotr Müller.

The EU’s “call for payment” represents only the most recent political missile flung in what has now become a drawn-out political feud between the two parties.

Brussels began a lawsuit against the country back in December over Poland’s court system, which the bloc believes “no longer meets the requirements of an independent and impartial tribunal” due to reforms implemented by the ruling government.

It has also claimed that recent rulings made by Polish courts challenging the primacy of EU law are “in breach of the general principles of autonomy, primacy, effectiveness and uniform application of Union law and the binding effect of rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union.”

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, fired back, saying that the country would not bow to EU “blackmail”, but that they were “ready for dialogue” regarding disputes.

“Some EU institutions assume the right to decide on issues to which on issues to which they have not been entitled to decide,” the PM said, saying that Poland recognised the supremacy of EU law where such competencies had been handed by Poland through treaties.

The eastern European nation has also hosted a summit involving a number of populist and conservative leaders from across the bloc, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban and France’s Marine Le Pen, with the aims of discussing how they could work together to change the European Union, which many of those gathered believe to be eroding the traditions and powers of member states.

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