The Courts in Poland and Germany have recently challenged to legal foundation of the European Union. 

The essence of the EU is that it is a system of rules, agreed democratically, enforced consistently and interpreted in a uniform way.

The uniform interpretation of EU rules has been ensured by the acceptance by  member states that the final word on what an EU rule or law means, is made by the European Court of Justice, and by it alone.

This is put into effect by Article 260 of the EU Treaty which says;

“If the Court of Justice finds that a Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties, the State shall be required to take the necessary measures to comply with the judgement of the Court.”

The European Court of Justice recently found that recent moves by the Polish Government were in conflict with the principle that the judiciary should be independent of politics.

 Last week the Polish Supreme Court decided that it would defy the European court’s ruling.

This is the road to chaos, and to an end to the EU’s Single Market.

 Poland’s independent Ombudsman put it this way;

“If every EU member state interprets EU law in its own way, we would not have a free flow of goods, capital and services, and much more”.

In a more limited way, the German Supreme Court has also questioned the finality of judgements of the European Court of Justice in the matter of bond buying by the European Central Bank. 

The German Court has long challenged the principle of the primacy of the European Court, but so far has avoided the matter coming to ahead. This ambiguity provides cover for Poland and for others, like Hungary, who might be tempted to defy European Court rulings. Germany should sort this out.

If these Polish and German positions are allowed to stand, they undermine the basis on which the EU is undertaking ambitious joint borrowing for economic recovery, and is setting equally ambitious joint rules to combat climate change.

 If the financial and legal obligations being created by these initiatives cannot be guaranteed to be interpreted consistently across all 27 member states, the initiatives should not go ahead.

At the very least, the proposed EU recovery package for Poland should be suspended. 

Meanwhile, Germany should amend its Basic Law to ensure that it accepts the primacy of European Court rules in matters that come within the competence of the EU. 

All EU states should take this matter up.

In the wake of Brexit, Ireland is making significant sacrifices to stay in the EU Single Market. So Ireland should make it clear it will defend the legal basis of the Single Market in every way it can. 

Countries that do not accept the primacy of the European court of Justice in matters of EU competence should leave the EU.

Print Entry