European Union is ‘new communism’ says Nigel Farage in 2013

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EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the bloc could eventually bring itself down through challenges to the supremacy of EU law. Belgium’s most senior EU official claimed that the growing number of governments questioning the European Court of Justice’s authority could create a “spillover effect” that emboldens others to follow. It comes after the European Commission this month launched legal action against Germany in response to a ruling by its constitutional court that the ECJ had acted beyond its remit.

Brussels is also bracing itself for another legal showdown with Poland with the country’s constitutional tribunal set to rule on whether certain elements of the EU’s treaties are compatible with the constitution.

The case, brought by Poland’s eurosceptic government, is considered the most serious challenge yet to the EU’s legal order.

Mr Reynders told the FT that Warsaw had been able “to use the example of the German decision” to mount its own case.

The Belgian hinted he had underestimated his role as justice commissioner and didn’t realise it would be “so important” in defending the future of the bloc.

He said: “What is the risk if we don’t take care of this? It is that we will destroy the union itself.

“When we have a problem in one member state, the risk is a spillover effect, that you will have in all the member states, or in some member states, a tendency to challenge the primacy of EU law and the exclusive competence of the Court of Justice.”

Similar cases questioning the supremacy of EU law have been launched in France and Hungary.

Discussing the EU’s legal challenge against Germany, Mr Reynders said: “If you don’t stop that, you will have more possibilities for different member states to challenge the primacy of EU law and the competence of the ECJ.”

In a bid to avert potential Polish defiance of ECJ rulings, the eurocrat has pleaded with Warsaw to withdraw its constitutional challenge before any verdict is delivered.

But experts fear that it is too late and that a Polish ruling against ECJ primacy would be a “nuclear strike against the EU legal order”.

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Laurent Pech, a professor of EU law at Middlesex University, said a ruling against Brussels “would not be dis-applying an ECJ judgement but EU treaty provisions”.

Critics have said the EU has been too lenient with a number of controversial reforms being pushed through by the Polish government.

Since 2016, Warsaw has forced judges to retire from its supreme court and appointed party loyalists to the constitutional tribunal.

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The Commission has launched just two legal cases against Poland since Mr Reynders took office in 2019.

Brussels was slow to take action to force the Polish government to back down, it has been said.

Rejecting the criticism, Mr Reynders said: “We don’t have the same timelines as Twitter.”

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