After the European Court of Justice ruled in July that the Polish government should suspend the activity of its own Supreme Court but the country not respected the decision, Poland on Wednesday was ordered to pay 1 million euros ($1.16 million) for every day it fails to comply with a ruling from the EU’s top court. The question of judiciary independence in Poland has been a hot topic in recent months. Last week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen engaged in a heated discussion on the matter. Morawiecki said his country would not be intimidated and the highest law in Poland was its constitution. Poland has repeatedly been at loggerheads with the EU over changes that are seen as weakening the independence of Polish courts. An opinion poll on Tuesday suggested that 40.8% of Poles believed their government should concede defeat and end the row, while another 32.5% said it should compromise.
Last week, on Friday, the French and German foreign ministers rebuked Poland, saying EU membership relied upon “complete and unconditional adherence to common values and rules” and this was “not simply a moral commitment. It is also a legal commitment”. Aspects of a legal Polexit can now to be considered and possible but in the country many people affirm membership has given Poland access to billions of euros to invest in projects that have visibly transformed the country’s landscape, as well as access to the single market. The European Commission has yet to approve Poland’s €57bn (£50bn; $66bn) Covid recovery plan, money the government needs.