EU erupts in fury at Poland as Polexit fears boil over: ‘Cut the funding!’

Germany calls on Poland to "fully" implement EU law

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The vice-president of the European Parliament, Katarina Barley, has issued a stern ultimatum to Poland and warned it could be blocked from receiving EU funds, including money from the Covid rescue package, if Warsaw moves away from EU legislation. The furious outburst, echoed by leading political figures across Brussels, came after Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that parts of EU law are incompatible with the Polish constitution.

The outcome could throw the bloc into disarray as it risks undermining the rules governing all 27 EU member states.

Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt, Ms Barley said: “The Polish government has its constitutional court, which is occupied by political forces, certify that it will no longer have to comply with European law in the future.”

The EU chief added the Commission should not “give any European coronavirus funds to Warsaw and must also block other funding”.

Former EU Council President and Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk has ordered a protest in the Polish capital later this afternoon in order to protect the foundations of the bloc.

He tweeted: “I call on everyone who wants to defend a European Poland to come to Palace Square in Warsaw on Sunday at 6pm.

“Only together can we stop them.”

EU powerhouses France and Germany have also come out in fierce opposition against Polexit.

In a joint statement on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Heiko Maas, urged Poland to uphold the rules, values and laws of the EU.

They said: “We remind you that membership of the European Union goes hand in hand with a complete and unconditional adherence to common values and rules.

“It is incumbent on each member, and therefore of course on Poland, which occupies a vital place within the European Union, to respect these rules and values.

“This is not simply a moral commitment. It is also a legal commitment.”

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Poland now risks losing out on €23billion (£19billion) in EU grants and €34billion (£29billion) in EU loans agreed as part of the EU Covid recovery plan.

The Polish court took on the case after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked it whether EU institutions could stop Warsaw reorganising its judiciary.

Despite the intervention, Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party says it has no plans for a so-called “Polexit” from the European Union.

Poland has been a member of the bloc since 2004 and support for staying in the EU remains high across the country.

The Polish foreign ministry has since reiterated its commitment to international law

In a statement, the ministry said: “All obligations arising from both primary and secondary European Union law remain in force and thus, will be continue to be fully respected by Poland.

“The provisions of the Treaty of the European Union indicated in the judgment …remain in force.

“What cannot be accepted are only the forms of their interpretation or application that violate the constitution.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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