Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in more than 100 Polish cities in favor of the European Union and against a “Polexit”, after the controversial ruling of the country’s Constitutional Court rejecting the principle of pre-eminence of community law.
The marches, called by the opposition, drew a landscape of citizens parading with lit candles, singing the Polish anthem and the Ode to Joy or European anthem, as background sound.
The most massive event, with tens of thousands of people, took place in the afternoon in the Castle Square of Warsaw, the historic heart of the Polish capital, to show support for the EU and following the call launched last Thursday by the opposition leader and former president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
Similar scenes took place in practically all the main cities of the country, where rallies were called between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, with the attendance of deputies, senators and personalities from the political life of practically all the opposition factions.
In Warsaw, Tusk addressed the crowd to “raise the alarm at this critical turning point” in which, he said, “a group of people dressed in judge’s clothes have violated the Polish Constitution by order of the chairman of the ruling party. , to get our homeland out of the European Union. “
Tusk, who was Prime Minister for two legislatures, already made an appeal in defense of “European Poland” last Thursday, when the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that part of the EU accession treaty is “unconstitutional” and therefore the law European Community is subject to Polish national law.
“I am a Pole whom the European countries elected 7 years ago as their boss, head of the European Council, out of respect for Poland, for our difficult and beautiful road to independence, to Europe,” Tusk said.
On the sidelines of the Warsaw demonstration, there were some violent incidents by nationalist groups that challenged the pro-European march. A few hours before the acts began, the police arrested 12 people, some of whom turned out to be members of the ultra-Italian group Forza Nuova.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Blazej Pobozy said that “calling a demonstration in this place today” was “a disgusting provocation.”
New pulse between Brussels and Warsaw
Since the controversial ruling of the Polish TC last Thursday, fears have grown that the confrontation with the European institutions could lead to Poland’s exit from the EU.
In recent days, statements by the Polish Government have followed one another reaffirming the preeminence of national legislation, while the intention to leave the EU has been denied.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, of the government party, the ultraconservative Law and Justice (PiS), assured that “Poland’s place is and will be in the European family of nations”, but emphasized that “constitutional law is superior to any other source of law “.
For his part, the head of that formation, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said that the Court’s ruling seemed “obvious” to him and stated that “in matters of judicial order in Poland, the EU has nothing to say.”
For the Krakow lawyer specialized in European Law Jagoda Pawlak, the sentence “is the first frame of a” Polexit “in slow motion, a horror film in which the Government writes the script, the TC plays the actor and we, the Poles, we are the public that attends helpless and indignant. “
The creation in 2017 of a Disciplinary Chamber controlled by the Government and with the power to sanction, dismiss or transfer judges against their will, has led to several counterclaims by Europe.
Morawiecki recently called an “attempt to attack the stability of the legal system” a ruling by the CJEU that called into question the functioning of that body.
In Warsaw, banners with slogans in defense of the Constitution and the EU alternate with caricatures of members of the Government and memories of how, just over three decades ago, Poland took its first steps into democracy and dreamed of joining Europe .
“I have warned everyone for many, many months that this march to Polexit, which leads Poland out of the European Union, is serious,” Tusk said Sunday. “Really, it can happen,” he concluded.