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Despite the energy crisis, the Poland conflict is poised to take center stage at the EU meeting

  • When EU leaders arrived in Brussels on Thursday, they couldn’t avoid being asked about the strained relationship between Warsaw and Brussels.
  • For long years, the eastern European country and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, have been at odds over the rule of law.
  • However, their spat erupted earlier this month when Poland’s top court ruled that sections of EU law were in contradiction with the Polish constitution.

 

The continuing spat between Poland and the European Union is expected to dominate this week’s Brussels meeting.

When EU leaders arrived in Brussels on Thursday, they couldn’t avoid being asked about the strained relationship between Warsaw and Brussels, and the topic was even added to the agenda at the last minute.

On the growing conflict with Poland, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin stated Thursday, “We are quite worried.”

The eastern European country and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, have been at odds for years over the rule of law, but their spat erupted earlier this month when Poland’s top court ruled that sections of EU legislation were in contradiction with the Polish constitution.

In the end, the judgment calls into question European law’s primacy as well as the political and economic group’s basic underpinnings.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, who is frequently at war with Brussels, said he agreed with the decision. “What happens here is that European institutions routinely ignore the rights of national parliaments and governments,” Orban stated on Thursday.

‚ÄúPoland? “There is no need for any penalty against the best country in Europe; that is ludicrous,” Orban added, referring to any possible action taken by Brussels against Warsaw.

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Even while member states maintain ultimate say in several policy areas, the European Union was founded on the idea that they obey a shared rulebook. This means that, while an EU nation is allowed to choose its own fiscal strategy, it must adhere to EU regulations regarding public debt and deficit.

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, had a heated conversation over the issue earlier this week. Morawiecki stated that his country would not be intimidated, and that Poland’s constitution was the ultimate law. Von der Leyen, on the other hand, stated that her team is ready to act.

“We cannot, and will not, allow our shared ideals to be jeopardized. In Strasbourg, France, she stated, “The Commission will act.”

Energy scarcity

All of this occurs at a time when Europe is dealing with rising energy costs, an issue that, in the short term, might stymie economic recovery and, in the long run, could jeopardize the continent’s climate goals.

Orban also questioned the EU’s climate objectives when he arrived in Brussels. “What Timmermans [Europe’s climate head] and others propose will obliterate Europe’s middle class,” he added.

The European Commission and several EU countries feel that the transition to a climate-neutral economy should be accelerated and that more renewable energy should be invested. However, given the importance that coal still plays in those nations, Hungary and, in particular, Poland, regard a fast shift as a risk to their economies.

Merkel’s most recent summit

In the context of this, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is prepared to leave European politics.

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She is set to be succeeded by Olaf Scholz, a socialist party member who previously served as the country’s finance minister, after 16 years in office. Merkel will be attending her 107th summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

“Absolutely,” Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovi responded when asked if he would miss Merkel’s attendance. Merkel, he told CNBC, was not only Germany’s leader, but also a European and world leader.

Merkel is by nature a consensus builder, according to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who praised Merkel’s contribution in keeping Greece in the euro zone during the sovereign debt crisis.

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