Rule of law: President von der Leyen says the Commission will act to protect EU citizens’ rights and common values
This morning, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a speech at the European Parliament plenary debate on the rule of law crisis in Poland and the primacy of EU law. Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg, the President addressed the recent ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court which the Commission is currently assessing in detail: “I am deeply concerned. This ruling calls into question the foundations of the European Union. It is a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order.” President von der Leyen warned of the serious consequences for Polish citizens, who are less protected and whose rights are at stake without independent courts. She underlined that “Polish people must be able to rely on fair and equal treatment in the judicial system, just like any other European citizen”. Recalling the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaties, the President said: “It is my Commission’s duty to protect the rights of EU citizens, wherever they live in our Union. The rule of law is the glue that binds our Union together. It is the foundation of our unity. It is essential for the protection of the values, on which our Union is founded: democracy, freedom, equality and respect for human rights. And this is what all 27 Member States have signed up to as part of this Union, as sovereign countries and free people. We cannot and we will not allow our common values to be put at risk. The Commission will act.” In her remarks, she set out the three options for Commission action: infringements, the conditionality mechanism and other financial tools, as well as the Article 7 procedure. Read the full speech online in English, French, German and Polish, and watch it back here.