On Sunday, October 10, opposition political parties in Poland organized a massive mobilization in capital Warsaw and several other cities to protest the Polish constitutional tribunal’s ruling overriding various laws and rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The pro-EU liberal protesters alleged that the constitutional court – filled with partisans of the incumbent Eurosceptic far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party – hints at the Polish government’s intent to move the country out of the EU. Even though PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński denied any plans for a ‘Polexit’, pro-government media outlets have slammed the protests by the opposition. The protests are likely to continue given the recent history of anti-EU machinations by the PiS-led government.
On October 7, Julia Przyłębska, president of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland, ruled that a couple of articles of the EU Treaty by the CJEU in its rulings on the independence of the judiciary are contrary to the Polish constitution. Earlier, on July 14, the constitutional court had opined that provisions of the CJEU concerning the judiciary do not apply in Poland. The CJEU and the PiS-led Polish government have been at loggerheads ever since the government forcefully imposed controversial reforms to subjugate the Polish judiciary in order to secure absolute power in the country. Such attempts by the government led to widespread protests from the opposition.
“President Kaczyński signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, agreeing to cede the country’s sovereignty. Although we stand here on the position that the constitutional law is indeed superior to any international agreement, we do oppose the anti-democratic actions of the government attempting to subordinate judges and prosecutors to the Minister of Justice. The Communist Party of Poland has been opposed to Polish membership in the EU from the start and we also propose the change of the constitutional order,” added the source from the party.
Adrian Zandberg from the left-wing party Razem stated that “Poles, including those voting for PiS, don’t want to leave or smash the European Union. The government has no democratic mandate to push Poland into a deep conflict with the rest of Europe. Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki leads his charge against European treaties solely on his behalf.”
Razem and the New Left party in Poland also participated in the protests against the anti-EU ruling by the Polish constitutional tribunal and the government.