Poland threatens to aim ‘all our guns’ at EU under rule of law | Poland

Poland’s national-conservative government has dramatically toughened its rhetoric in its showdown with Brussels over the rule of law, threatening to turn “all our guns” on the European Commission and if necessary build a coalition to overthrow its president.

If the EU executive “tries to push us against the wall, we will have no choice but to pull out all the weapons in our arsenal” and respond “an eye for an eye”, said Krzysztof Sobolewski, the secretary general of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS).

Sobolewski told Polish state radio that if the commission did not release 35 billion euros (£29.5 billion) in pandemic relief funds, Warsaw would take legal action against Brussels, veto EU initiatives and constitute an alliance to dismiss Ursula von der Leyen and her college of commissioners.

The threat came after Jarosław Kaczyński, who resigned as deputy prime minister in June but remains PiS chairman and Poland’s de facto leader, said in a strongly worded interview with the Sieci magazine that Warsaw had “no reason to fulfill its obligations” to the bloc.

“We showed a maximum of good will, but [our] concessions didn’t work,” Kaczyński said, insisting Poland had kept its part of a deal to roll back some of its controversial judicial reforms in exchange for EU funds.

“On our side it was kept, on their side it was broken,” he said. “It is time to draw conclusions. It was necessary to try, if only to clarify the question. And today it’s clear – everyone can see what the game is about.”

Warsaw has been embroiled in an increasingly bitter dispute with the commission over the release of stimulus funds for months, with Brussels demands a meeting with Poland a series of rule of law “milestones” before grants and loans can be released.

The Polish government, whose judicial changes are widely seen as having slashed the independence of the country’s judicial system in violation of EU standards, last month closed a controversial disciplinary chamber for judges.

Amid warnings that the chamber would settle for be replaced by a new body politically controlled in the same wayNevertheless, Von der Leyen announced that Poland had not yet made sufficient progress to justify the release of a first tranche of funds.

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Kaczyński said the government would take no further action to meet the commission’s demands, accusing Brussels of wanting to “dismantle the rule of law in Poland” and force it “to submit fully to Germany”.

Poland “does not fit into the German-Russian plans to govern Europesaid Kaczyński, claiming that the Polish opposition colluded with Brussels and other foreign powers “to try to take our freedom, our sovereignty and rob us”.

Polls show that a large majority of Polish voters remain in the 27-member bloc. But opposition leaders have warned that the increasingly aggressive PiS stance will eventually lead to the country’s ejection from the EU.

“Nobody will take seriously a man who, instead of big money, prefers to give the Poles poverty, anarchy, the destruction of judicial independence and… #Polexit”, tweeted Grzegorz Schetyna of the opposition Civic Platform. “Symbol of madness and decline.”

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