Germany, France say Poland is obligated to respect EU rules

The German and French foreign ministers have issued a joint statement saying that Poland has both a moral and legal obligation to respect the common rules of the European Union, which is joined in 2004.

Heiko Maas of Germany and Jean-Yves Le Drian of France published their statement late Friday in reaction to a Polish constitutional court ruling this week that challenged the supremacy of EU laws. The court held Thursday that the Polish Constitution has primacy over EU laws in some cases.

“Membership of the EU goes with full and unrestricted allegiance to common values and rules,” Le Drian and Mass said.

“Respect for and compliance with these must be fulfilled by every member state,” they added. “Of course, that also goes for Poland, which has a very central place within the EU.”

“This does not just mean a moral obligation. It also means a legal obligation,” the ministers said.

Some European leaders fear the ruling could bring legal chaos to the bloc, while many Poles fear that it’s a step on the path toward Poland leaving the EU.

Poland’s main opposition leader, Donald Tusk, called on Poles to defend their EU membership in protests planned for Sunday evening in Warsaw and other Polish cities.

Critics point out that Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal is a politicized body with several judges who were appointed illegally. They argue the tribunal has no authority to make a ruling that could be of enormous consequence to Poland’s future in the EU and its place in the West.

The tribunal initiated its review on a motion from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki after the European Court of Justice ruled in March that Poland’s new regulations for appointing Supreme Court justices could violate EU law. The EU’s top court ordered Poland’s right-wing government to suspend the regulations.

Jaroslaw Kurski, first deputy editor of the liberal daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, had a message Saturday for Poland’s government as he called on people to protest Sunday: “You will not push us out of the European Union! You will not deprive our children of their dreams and their hopes for the future. If you want to head East, then by all means proceed, but do not drag us with you.”

Meanwhile, a far-right leader called “on all patriots who care about the sovereignty of our state” to join a counter-protest in Warsaw.

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