Poland clash center stage at EU summit despite energy crisis

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the European Council Building in Brussels on October 21, 2021,

YVES HERMAN | AFP | Getty Images

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The ongoing showdown between Poland and the European Union is about to dominate a Brussels summit this week.

EU leaders arriving within the Belgian capital on Thursday couldn’t escape questions on the tense relationship between Warsaw and Brussels, and the topic was truly added to the agenda at the final minute.

“We are very concerned,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin mentioned Thursday on the escalating spat with Poland.

The japanese European nation and the European Commission, the manager arm of the EU, have clashed for a number of years over the implementation of the rule of legislation, however their variations intensified earlier this month after the very best courtroom in Poland mentioned that elements of EU legislation have been in battle with the Polish structure.

The resolution in the end challenges the supremacy of European legislation and the very foundations of the political and financial group.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, typically at odds with Brussels himself, mentioned he agrees with the ruling. “What is going on here is, regularly, European institutions circumvent the rights of the national parliaments and governments,” Orban mentioned Thursday.

“Poland? Best country in Europe — there is no need to have any sanction, it is ridiculous,” Orban additionally mentioned about potential motion that Brussels may take towards Warsaw.

The European Union was constructed on the precept that member states comply with a standard rulebook, though they maintain the ultimate say in some coverage areas. This means, for instance, that an EU nation is free to determine its personal fiscal coverage, nevertheless it’s alleged to have a public debt and deficit according to EU guidelines.

Earlier this week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen engaged in a heated dialogue on the matter. Morawiecki mentioned his nation wouldn’t be intimidated and the very best legislation in Poland was its structure. On the opposite hand, von der Leyen mentioned her group might take motion.

“We cannot and we will not allow our common values to be put at risk. The Commission will act,” she mentioned in Strasbourg, France.

Energy crisis

This all comes at a time when Europe is grappling with larger energy prices — an issue that, within the quick time period, might derail financial restoration and, in the long run, have an effect on its local weather ambitions.

At his arrival in Brussels, Orban additionally challenged the EU’s local weather targets. “What Timmermans [Europe’s climate chief] and others proposed will kill the middle class of Europe,” he mentioned.

The fee and a few EU nations imagine they should speed up the transition to a climate-neutral economic system and make investments extra on renewables. But for Hungary, and notably Poland, they see a fast transition as a threat to their economies given the function that coal nonetheless performs in these international locations.

Merkel’s final summit

Against this backdrop, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making ready to say goodbye to European politics.

After 16 years in energy, she is due to get replaced by Olaf Scholz, a socialist celebration member who has served because the nation’s finance minister. Thursday and Friday’s summit in Brussels might be Merkel’s 107th gathering of this sort.

When requested if he was going to overlook the presence of Merkel, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković mentioned: “Absolutely.” He instructed CNBC that Merkel was not simply the German chief, but additionally a European and international chief.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis instructed CNBC that Merkel is by nature a consensus builder and acknowledged how she performed a key function in retaining Greece within the euro zone at the peak of the sovereign debt crisis.