The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appeared in Brussels early on Thursday. A new showdown on the rule of law in his country was imminent, this time among the heads of state and government. With his appearance in the European Parliament on Tuesday, the national-conservative politician added fuel to the fire when he accused the EU of blackmail and arbitrariness. Even the always restrained Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was visibly annoyed when she went to the microphone again after the more than four hours long speech battle. “It is a one-off process for a constitutional court to question articles of the European Treaty. That hits right in the marrow of the rule of law. It has never happened before, ”she told the Polish head of government in the face.Would it continue like this, confrontational style?

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

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Two colleagues prayed to the Pole to prevent this from happening.

The first was Emmanuel Macron.

The French President met Morawiecki at the airport.

In the conversation he expressed his concern about the judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court, it was said afterwards from the Elysée Palace.

Macron had expressly asked Morawiecki to seek dialogue with the EU Commission in order to find a solution.

The second to act on the Pole was Angela Merkel.

Both met in the council building an hour before the meeting began.

On the way there, the Chancellor said she supported the Commission, which has frozen 24 billion euros in grants and a further twelve billion euros in loans that are earmarked in the Corona reconstruction fund for Poland. Merkel also repeated her warning about a political dialogue with Warsaw: "Because a cascade of legal disputes before the European Court of Justice is not yet a solution to the problem of how the rule of law can also be lived." She referred to the larger problem that not only affects Poland . Where is the European project supposed to lead - to the “ever closer union of the peoples of Europe”, as stipulated in Article One of the EU Treaty? Or back to more nation statehood? The Polish Constitutional Court has expressly rejected Article one,likewise the central role of the European Court of Justice in Article 19.

Charles Michel wanted to prevent a debate

Morawiecki defended this decision, which he himself had requested, on Thursday too.

He said again that his government would not "act under the pressure of extortion".

After all, he also pointed out that his government wanted to abolish the disciplinary chamber at the Supreme Court in order to counter “doubts” that the ECJ had.

In fact, there is no doubt about it.

The Luxembourg judges have obliged Warsaw to do so.

Morawiecki, however, cannot follow up on his words: his own Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and his Solidarisches Poland party want to hold on to the chamber, which is used to intimidate and prosecute politically unpopular judges.

And the PiS party does not have its own majority.

Actually, EU Council President Charles Michel wanted to prevent a debate on Poland among the bosses - after the previous meeting in June had quarreled over sexual discrimination. However, several capitals had signaled in the past few days that the topic could not be ignored under any circumstances. The Dutchman Mark Rutte even came to Brussels with a formal mandate from his parliament to raise the judgment. "We have to be tough," he said on arrival. "The independence of the judiciary is crucial, that is not negotiable." Rutte expressly supported the blocking of the Corona billions. It is "very difficult to see how a large new pot of money" can be opened for the country as long as it does not recognize the primacy of European law. Also Alexander De Croo,the Belgian Prime Minister said it was "a good thing" that reconstruction funds were blocked. "You can't be a member of the club and not follow the rules that apply to everyone."

Keywords: mateusz morawiecki, politician, poland, polish constitutional court, everyone, rule of law, eu, summit, dispute, process, ursula von der leyen, chancellor, brussels, country, pressure