Poles rally to defend the EU membership amid fear of ‘Polexit’

Opposition chief Donald Tusk has referred to as for protests to defend Poland’s continued membership within the 27-nation bloc.

Large protests are being held throughout Poland in a present of assist for the European Union after a courtroom this week challenged the supremacy of EU laws, widening the rift with Brussels.

Thousands of individuals on Sunday crammed Castle Square, in Warsaw’s historic centre, in a present of opposition to the right-wing nationalist authorities, with individuals chanting “We are staying!” and holding indicators with slogans like “We are Europeans”. Large protests additionally befell in different cities throughout the nation.

The chief of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) get together, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has been in battle with EU officers for the previous six years as PiS has sought higher management over the courts. The EU has forged the adjustments as an erosion of democratic checks and balances.

The protests have been referred to as for by Donald Tusk, the highest opposition chief in Poland and former EU chief, in an effort to defend Poland’s continued membership within the 27-nation bloc.

Donald Tusk, chief of the Polish opposition get together Civic Platform, addressed pro-EU demonstrators in Warsaw [Wojtek Radwanski/AFP]

Addressing the crowds, Tusk warned {that a} “pseudo court” had determined to take Poland out of the EU by order of the governing get together’s chief, in violation of the structure.

“We want an independent, law-abiding, democratic and fair Poland,” Tusk mentioned earlier than the group sang the nationwide anthem.

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from Warsaw, mentioned protesters “believe they are Europeans and will always be Europeans”, however that latest tensions between Warsaw and Brussels had stoked fears of a Polish exit from the EU, dubbed “Polexit”.

“Nobody is saying that’s a likelihood yet, but it’s certainly raising the political temperature here and in Brussels,” Challands mentioned.

EU membership is in style in Poland, having introduced new freedom to travel and a dramatic financial transformation to the central European nation after communist rule got here to an finish in 1989.

Kaczynski has denied that he desires Poland to go away the bloc, although prime members of the governing get together have just lately used language suggesting that could be their purpose.

In a authorized determination requested by Poland’s prime minister earlier this week, a Constitutional Tribunal declared some articles in EU treaties “incompatible” with its nationwide laws and unconstitutional.

Politicians throughout Europe have voiced dismay on the ruling, which undermined the authorized pillar of European integration on which the 27-nation EU stands.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, mentioned she was “deeply concerned” and that the EU govt she leads would do all in its energy to make sure the primacy of EU legislation.

Wojciech Przybylski, editor-in-chief of study and media platform Visegrad Insight, advised Al Jazeera that “while on one hand nobody wants to leave the EU, even supporters of the government, on the other hand nobody seems to be able to say ‘stop’ to the conflict that prevents Poland from accessing EU funds”.

The EU is holding off on approving the 23 billion euros ($26bn) in EU grants and 34 billion euros ($39bn) in low-cost loans to assist the nation previous the financial blowback of COVID-19.

Warsaw has accused the EU of “blackmail” following a warning by EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni that the courtroom case might have repercussions on the disbursement of Poland’s pandemic restoration funds.

EU officers have mentioned the cash may very well be disbursed subsequent month however with strict rule of legislation situations connected.

Przybylski mentioned political bickering and a ruling coalition made up of heterogeneous events – a few of whom are in favour of holding a referendum on “Polexit” – are guilty for the widening rift between Warsaw and Brussels.

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