Demonstration in support of Polish EU membership, Warsaw, Poland, October 10, 2021. (REUTERS / Kacper Pempel)
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in more than 100 Polish cities in favor of the European Union and against a “Polexit”, after the controversial ruling of the country’s Constitutional Court rejecting the principle of pre-eminence of community law.
The marches, called by the opposition, drew a landscape of citizens parading with lit candles, singing the Polish anthem and the Ode to Joy or European anthem, as background sound.
The most massive event, with tens of thousands of people, took place in the afternoon in the Warsaw Castle Square, the historic heart of the Polish capital, to show support for the EU and following the call launched last Thursday by the opposition leader and former president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
Similar scenes took place in practically all the main cities of the country, where rallies were called between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, with the attendance of deputies, senators and personalities from the political life of practically all the opposition factions.
In Warsaw, Tusk addressed the crowd to “raise the alarm at this critical turning point” in which, he said, “a group of people dressed in judge’s clothes have violated the Polish Constitution by order of the chairman of the ruling party. , to get our homeland out of the European Union ”.
Un manifestante en Cracovia. (Jakub Wlodek / Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS)
Tusk, who was Prime Minister for two legislatures, already made an appeal in defense of “European Poland” last Thursday, when the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that part of the EU accession treaty is “unconstitutional” and therefore the law European Community is subject to Polish national law.
“I am a Pole whom European countries elected 7 years ago as their boss, head of the European Council, out of respect for Poland, for our difficult and beautiful road to independence, to Europe,” Tusk said.
On the sidelines of the Warsaw demonstration, there were some violent incidents by nationalist groups that challenged the pro-European march. A few hours before the acts began, the police arrested 12 people, some of whom turned out to be members of the Italian neo-fascist group Forza Nuova.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Błażej Poboży said that “calling a demonstration in this place today” was “a disgusting provocation.”
New pulse between Brussels and Warsaw
Since the controversial ruling of the Polish TC last Thursday, fears have grown that the confrontation with the European institutions could lead to Poland’s exit from the EU.
In recent days, statements by the Polish government have followed one another reaffirming the preeminence of national legislation, while the intention to leave the EU has been denied.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, of the government party, the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS), assured that “Poland’s place is and will be in the European family of nations”, but emphasized that “Constitutional Law is superior to any other source of law ”.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki (Alberto Ortega – Europa Press)
For his part, the head of that formation, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said that the Court’s ruling seemed “obvious” and stated that “in matters of judicial order in Poland, the EU has nothing to say.”
For the Krakow lawyer specialized in European Law Jagoda Pawlak, the sentence “is the first frame of a ‘Polexit’ in slow motion, a horror film in which the Government writes the script, the TC plays the actor and we, the Poles, we are the public that attends helpless and indignant ”.
In 2015, the PiS promoted a controversial judicial reform that has been criticized for endangering the rule of law and judicial independence.
The creation in 2017 of a Disciplinary Chamber controlled by the Government and with the power to sanction, dismiss or transfer judges against their will, has led to several counterclaims by Europe.
Opposition leader and former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (REUTERS / Kacper Pempel)
Morawiecki recently described a CJEU ruling that called into question the functioning of that body an “attempt to attack the stability of the legal system.”
In Warsaw, banners with slogans in defense of the Constitution and the EU alternate with caricatures of members of the Government and memories of how, just over three decades ago, Poland took its first steps into democracy and dreamed of joining Europe .
“I have warned everyone for many, many months that this march towards Polexit, which is leading Poland out of the European Union, is serious,” Tusk said Sunday. “Really, it can happen,” he concluded.
(By Miguel Ángel Gayo Macías, EFE)
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