The judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal confirmed the hierarchy of sources of law in force in Poland and in the European Union; in the first place in this hierarchy are always the national constitutions of the European Union Member States – wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release. Different comments on the judgment come from many politicians, including EU politicians, and from legal experts.
Constitutional Court under the leadership of president Julia Przyłębska decided on Thursday that some EU regulations are inconsistent with the constitution.
On Saturday, a communiqué on this matter was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland of October 7 confirmed the hierarchy of sources of law in force in Poland and in the European Union. The national constitutions of the EU Member States always take the first place in this hierarchy. EU treaties – as acts of international law – take precedence over national law of statutory rank, not they may, however, be ahead of the constitution, “reads the press release.
As emphasized, this principle does not raise any doubts in the jurisprudence of tribunals and constitutional courts of many EU Member States. “These courts have repeatedly stated that some of the actions of the European Union institutions, in particular the Court of Justice of the EU, are ultra vires, ie they exceed the competences granted to these institutions in the treaties, “reads the release.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes that such judgments were made, inter alia, in France, Denmark, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and Romania; the most well-established line of jurisprudence in this regard has been continued since the 1970s by the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the Constitutional Tribunal as “the court of the last word”
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal has also issued similar judgments in the past – composed of members from the election made by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland in all political configurations since Poland’s accession to the European Union.
As recalled, in 2005 the Constitutional Tribunal, chaired by Judge Marek Safjan, established the principle that “the Constitution is the highest law of the Republic of Poland in relation to all international agreements that are binding on it, including agreements on conferral of competences in certain matters. The Constitution enjoys precedence. validity and application in the territory of Poland “(judgment of 11 May 2005).
The communiqué emphasized that this principle was confirmed in subsequent judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal, including the decision of December 19, 2006, according to which “the Constitutional Tribunal is obliged to understand its position in such a way that in fundamental cases, with a systemic dimension, it will retain the position of a court the last word “with reference to the Polish Constitution”, as well as in the judgment of 24 November 2010, which stated that “the conferral of EU competences may not violate the principle of supremacy of the Constitution and may not violate any provisions of the Constitution”.
MFA: The Tribunal did not question the provisions of the Treaty on European Union in its entirety
“The judgment of October 7 confirms this long-standing line of jurisprudence. The Tribunal did not question the provisions of the Treaty on European Union in its entirety. However, it indicated that an interpretation according to which they would lead to the supremacy of international law over domestic law of constitutional rank would be incompatible with the hierarchy of sources of law in force in the Republic of Poland “- reads the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the communiqué, “the interpretation of European Union law, resulting from the recent jurisprudence of the CJEU, and questioned by the Constitutional Tribunal, would lead to a situation in which Polish judges would be forced (by EU law, i.e. a lower-order legal norm) to disregard the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland when adjudicating. (and therefore of a higher order of law) “.
Moreover, according to the communiqué, “such an interpretation would establish for Polish citizens a lower standard of judicial protection than that which they are entitled to under the Constitution”.
Ministry of Diplomacy: Poland complies with international law that is binding on it
“In accordance with the Constitution, judges appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland are irremovable, and in the exercise of their office they are subject only to the Constitution and statutes. The interpretation of EU law challenged by the Constitutional Tribunal was intended to undermine this principle, allowing for their judgments to be challenged and the actual deprivation of judicial power from them – as in As a consequence, it deprives citizens of legal certainty and trust in the judiciary. Accepting this interpretation would therefore lower the standard of legal protection below the level guaranteed in the Polish Constitution – and for this reason also it could not be considered by the Constitutional Tribunal to be consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland “- emphasizes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As also noted, in accordance with Art. 9 of the Polish constitution, Poland respects the binding international law. “This means that all obligations arising from both primary and secondary European Union law remain in force and will be respected by Poland. The provisions of the Treaty on European Union indicated in the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 7 remain in force. Only such interpretation or application that violates the Polish Constitution “- said the Polish diplomacy ministry.
The Republic of Poland complies with the binding international law.
Ursula von der Leyen’s reaction
She referred to the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. “The European Union is a community of values and rights. This binds our Union together and makes us stronger,” she said in a press release. “The treaties are clear: all judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union are binding on all member states,” she said, adding that she was “deeply concerned about yesterday’s judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court.”
Voices of experts and lawyers
The decision of the Constitutional Tribunal also raises concerns from numerous lawyers and experts.
Professor Andrzej Zoll, former president of the Constitutional Tribunal, who was a guest of “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 on Thursday he stated that “this is a demonstration that the Constitutional Tribunal will decide on Poland’s withdrawal from the European Union”.
Zoll emphasized that “if we question the competences of the Court of Justice of the European Union, it means that we no longer belong to the European Union”.
Professor Maciej Gutowski from the University of Adam Mickiewicz, Commenting on the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal on TVN24, he said that the CJEU in its rulings “does not comment on the system of the Polish judiciary – indicating that the judiciary system is a matter for the Member States – but only the standard of impartiality and independence, which must be guaranteed in each Member State in order to this system of communicating vessels like the European Union could function properly. ” – Every person must have the same standard of jurisprudence in the law of the EU Member States – he emphasized.
In his opinion, “the Tribunal is wrong to say that this ruling (CJEU) may be reviewed by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal”. – The Constitution does not give the Polish Constitutional Tribunal the right to evaluate the judgments of the CJEU. It does not and cannot decide about it – pointed out the professor.
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