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Polish justice minister rails against EU ‘blackmail’
Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice John MacMenamin Pic: RollingNews.ie

09 Aug 2021 / rule of law Print

Polish justice minister rails against EU ‘blackmail’

Polish justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro has said that his country should not stay in the European Union “at any price”.

Ziobro accused the EU of “blackmail” and a “colonial mentality”, as he spoke against threatened EU fines over Polish judicial reforms.

The reforms have been widely interpreted as compromising the independence of the country’s courts, because they introduce a disciplinary chamber with the power to punish judges for their rulings.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the changes are in breach of EU law.

Early in 2020, Supreme Court Justice John McMenamin and other legal professionals marched in support of the Polish judiciary, and handed in a letter of support from Chief Justice Frank Clarke and the Association of Judges in Ireland (AJI).

A 16 August deadline has been set out by the European Commission for a backtrack by Poland's government, with a showdown in the offing if it does not.

However, prime minister Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki has signalled a willingness to compromise in the clash with Brussels.


“We are in a situation where perhaps the disciplinary chamber should be reviewed,” he said in July. 

“The chamber hasn’t fulfilled our expectations.” 

Ziobro struck a different note in his press interview.

“I am completely against giving in to illegal EU blackmail,” Ziobro told Rzeczpospolita newspaper. 

“The prime minister believes in seeking compromises,” he said. “We think EU aggression should be met with a tough response. 

“If we agree to the illegal diktats of the ECJ today, tomorrow it could issue a verdict ordering Poland to introduce gay marriage, for example, or the adoption of children by such couples,’ he told the newspaper.

“The belief that the EU is a good uncle who gives us money, and we should accept all its demands at all costs, is propaganda and false.

'Defend autonomy'

“We should fight to defend our autonomy and our position within the EU. Otherwise, Poles will lose from EU membership. We should be in, but not at any price,” the justice minister said.

EU membership remains overwhelmingly popular in Poland, and Ziobro’s United Poland party is a junior coalition partner in the Law and Justice (PiS)-led government.

Gazette Desk
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