The EU's Growing Problems In its East
The EU-Poland tension is escalating, and the election in the autumn is now of crucial importance to both Poland, the EU, and even global geopolitics.
Last week, Poland’s President Duda refused to sign a crucial judicial reform bill into law. The law is needed to easy tension with the EU, which is concerned about Poland moving away from core EU values.
But the Polish president instead referred it to the Polish Constitutional Court for review. This process can take months, and is likely to result in a finding of unconstitutionality. This could cause the European Union (EU) to withhold Poland’s Next Generation EU (NGEU) funds and even threaten Cohesion Funds. And this would then serve to further increase tension with EU’s biggest member in Central and Eastern Europe.
The European Commission “countered” by opening its own legal case against Poland before the Court of Justice EU (CJEU) over a controversial 2021 decision by the same Polish Constitutional Court rejecting the primacy of certain EU powers over Polish domestic laws..
President Duda’s decision to refer such crucial legislation to the Euro-skeptic Polish Constitutional Court further raises the stakes for the outcome of the late-Autumn parliamentary election in Poland.
If the populist PiS (which have been on power since 2015) wins, the Poland-EU tension is likely to escalate further, creating problematic tension between the EU and the leading EU nation in the East (at a time when coherence is sorely needed, in relation to Ukraine and many other issues). But if the PiS loses its grip on power, resulting in a new and pro-European governing coalition, it could have a direct and significant impact on Poland's balance of payments (BOP) and even the future of the EU.
Elections in EU countries used to be minor events, not directly relevant for global geopolitics. But the stakes have been raised, given that there is a hot war on the European continent, and given disagreement about the core direction of Europe.
The Background Story…
Judicial reform is a key part of European Union concerns around the rule of law in Poland.