In the dispute with Warsaw over EU law, the Commission is playing for a limited period of time, and has an effective leverage at hand.
According to one of its spokespersons, the European Commission has not yet formed an opinion on the judgment of the Polish constitutional tribunal from Thursday a week ago, according to which the Polish constitution should take precedence over essential provisions of the EU treaties.
In view of the statements made by several ministers of the government led by the national authoritarian party PiS, immediately after the verdict was announced, that they now see their opposition to Brussels and the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg confirmed, this hesitation on the part of the Commission is astonishing. It becomes understandable, however, if one recalls that this rejection of the primacy of Union law over national law by the politically harmonized constitutional tribunal may have destroyed the hope of the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to negotiate away the judicial crisis. Von der Leyen relativizes the attack by the Polish government on the rule of law and the associated abandonment of European values since taking office two years ago by pointing out that there is a need for reform in the judiciary in every member state. Their hope was that the Warsaw judgment on Thursday would be sufficiently ambivalent to allow enough room for interpretation to ensure that the rule of law was upheld in Poland.