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Post Greetings from Krakow; Poland's Rejection of EU Powers
Created by John Eipper on 10/10/21 3:21 AM

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Greetings from Krakow; Poland's Rejection of EU Powers (Patrick Mears, -Germany, 10/10/21 3:21 am)

Connie and I are about to go to a "welcome dinner" here in Krakow that has been scheduled by the trip's sponsor. I assume that we will be called on to introduce ourselves, etc. We arrived in Krakow today on the train from Warsaw--a three-hour journey that was comfortable enough.

I heard today about the developments concerning the broadening gap between the EU, on the one hand, and Poland and Hungary, on the other. This conflict has been brought into sharp focus just recently by the action taken by the Polish constitutional court concerning the scope of the EU's powers versus Poland's non-delegated powers, plus Viktor Orban's resolution of support of the Polish court. See the DW article linked below.


Obviously, this is serious stuff that needs careful monitoring.

I forward some of Connie's photos of St Adalbert's church in Krakow.

JE comments:  Images appended.  Pat, I never knew that the 10th-century Czech saint Wojciech is the same guy as St Adalbert.  Wojciech/Adalbert was martyred by the nasty Baltic Prussians as he tried to evangelize them.

The bigger issue here is the fate of Poland (and Hungary) in the EU.  Any chance they could get thrown out of the club?  If so, we're going to need some neologisms.  Polejection?  Hung(ary) Out to Dry?  I need to work more on this...

St Adalbert church, Krakow. Photo Cornelia Lohs

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  • St Adalbert and the Early Balto-Slavs (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 10/11/21 3:51 AM)
    JE wrote, "St Wojciech/Adalbert was martyred by the nasty Baltic Prussians as he tried to evangelize them..."

    "Nasty" Baltic Prussians? Hmm. I think they would not have liked to be characterized like that.

    And in case anyone is confused, the Prussians referred to were not a Germanic people--they were Balto-Slavs, cousins of the Lithuanians and Latvians. They were conquered by the Teutonic Knights and then wiped out or assimilated by German settlers who colonized the Baltic coast in the late Middle Ages. Their language lives on in the hydronyms and place names of the Northeastern parts of what is now Germany, and indeed in many of the family names of that part of the world, although the language itself is unattested and lost. There is, however, an ongoing attempt at a speculative reconstruction.

    JE comments:  My apologies to the early Balto-Slavs.  Nothing personal against them...I was just feeling sorry for poor St Adalbert!

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  • Poland, Hungary, and EU vs National Law (Tom Hashimoto, -UK 10/11/21 7:58 AM)
    It is pity that I couldn't catch up with Patrick Mears during his visit to Warsaw. (I am still in Vilnius.)

    Re Poland/Hungary vs the EU, the disagreement goes back for some time. The Polish Constitutional Tribunal already found the European Arrest Warrant Framework unconstitutional back in 2005, as the latter prohibits the state to "give up" its own citizens. In another case (K18/04, 11.05.2005), "the Court reached the conclusion that the Constitution was interpreted in a manner sympathetic to EU law, but '[i]n no event may it lead to results contradicting the explicit wording of constitutional norms'" (Golecki, 2018 "Towards adverse spillover effect? The judicialization of the EU and the EU and the changing nature of Judicial governance after enlargement," in Hashimoto & Rhimes (eds.) Reviewing European Union Accession. Leiden/Boston: Brill (sorry for quoting from my edited volume!).

    Similarly, the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG, 2 BvE 2/08) expressed that "The primacy of Union and Community law over national law is still not explicitly regulated. (par. 33) / The obligation under European law to respect the constituent power of the Member States as the masters of the Treaties corresponds to the non-transferable identity of the constitution (Article 79.3 of the Basic Law), which is not open to integration in this respect. Within the boundaries of its competences, the Federal Constitutional Court must review, where necessary, whether these principles are adhered to." (par. 235)' (ibid.)

    Hungary, on the other hand, was interested in whether the implemented EU law is compatible with their national constitutional order, while the Czech court is interested in "cooperation," stating that (Pl. us 29/09) "there would be a breach of the Czech Constitution if, on the basis of a transfer of powers, an international organization could continue to change its powers at will, and independently of its members, i.r. if a constitutional competence (competence-competence) were transferred to it" (ibid.).

    Of course, because of the politicisation of these courts in Poland and Hungary (or the eminent threats to become politicised), the EU (and Commission in particular) reminds the Member States of the supremacy of EU law based on Van Gend en Loos and Costa v. ENEL cases at the ECJ (today, CJEU). At the same time, with the failed attempt to introduce the so-called "constitutional treaty," it can be argued that it is precisely the sovereignty of the Member States which gives legal competence to the European organisations.

    What we have is not the constitutional crisis in the EU.  It is a constitutional crisis in Poland and in Hungary, in which the EU has a stake. If we really want this to end, in my mind, we must ask (1) why democracy is "slipping away" in these countries, (2) why we cannot stop it or slow it down, and (3) why we failed to attract enough support for the constitutional treaty (in France). Otherwise, it would look like the "knowledgable" West tells the "lagging" East what to do (without they themselves reflecting on their own wrongdoings).  This is the contrast/dichotomy these populists feed on.

    JE comments:  Tom, dziękuję bardzo.   I know you've been in Lithuania in recent weeks, but do you have a sense of the "mood " in Warsaw regarding the recent nose-thumbing at the EU?  Could we even call it such (a nose-thumbing)?  My sense is that the political divisions in Poland closely mirror those in the US:  an immense gulf between city and countryside, proponents of cosmopolitanism and globalism vs traditionalists and religious conservatives.  The all-powerful influence of the (single, Catholic) Church would be the major difference with the US.

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