Brussels – An important conclusion of today’s EU discussion in Brussels on the primacy of EU law is that a solution needs to be sought in cooperation with Poland not against Poland, stressed Prime Minister Janez Janša after a two-day EU summit. He said only one country had directly proposed setting the rule of law as condition for EU funding.
The debate on how the EU should respond to a ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court rejecting the core principle that EU law has primacy over national legislation was shorter than expected and much calmer than a debate at the European Parliament beforehand, Janša said on Friday.
“It is very important that the conclusion was that a solution needs to be sought together with Poland not against it,” he said.
Asked whether he agreed with the arguments of his Polish counterpart and whether he thought the EU should act, Janša said the EU law had primacy in the areas where powers had been transferred onto the EU but not in those that had not.
Opinions vary on this, not the principle itself, and this needs to be clear, he said, thus upholding the argumentation of the Polish and Hungarian prime ministers.
One of the options for the EU’s response to the Polish ruling studied by the European Commission is acting based on a regulation on suspending EU funds if a member state is found to be in breach of the rule of law.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen again stressed that before concrete measure would be introduced, the EU Court would need to decide in a case filed by Poland and Hungary challenging the regulation. However, member states could be asked in a letter to provide information about their situation.
Letters are to be sent shortly as the Commission’s first step towards the implementation of the regulation. According to some unofficial information, Slovenia is among the countries that are to receive the letter.
Asked whether Slovenia would also receive the letter, Janša said he did not know why it would.
The Commission said it had been thoroughly assessing potential cases but could not confirm any concrete examples at this point.
But the Commission did confirm that Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders had met Slovenian Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič on Thursday to discuss the appointment of European delegated prosecutors and that Reynders had stressed the need for the appointment procedure to continue in line with the Administrative Court decision.
Regarding Poland, Janša said that on Thursday only one country had directly proposed setting the rule of law as condition for EU funding, while most others had agreed that procedures, which are envisaged for such cases, should be conducted without politicising.
Janša said the Polish prime minister had been rather dramatic in describing the situation in the Polish judiciary in the sense of corruption among judges and cronyism and that not much had been said about that before.
The prime minister also pointed to a recent resolution of the European Parliament saying that the Polish Constitutional Court had no legitimacy being politically appointed.
“If this will be the standard from now on, Slovenia will be the next to open debate on the political appointing of Constitutional Court judges. If politically appointed Constitutional Court judges are illegitimate than we have a big problem with the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court in Slovenia as well,” he said.
Janša also commented today on his controversial tweet about “Soros’s puppets”, over which Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte protested with the Slovenian ambassador, saying this debate had “taken place in a bubble that attracted attention only in Slovenia”.
He said so much time had passed since than and so many things had happened that neither he nor the Dutch prime minister probably thought about it any more and that nobody had discussed it.