Merkel Pushes Back Against Escalation in EU Clash With Poland
(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for dialog with Poland to resolve escalating tensions over a controversial Polish court ruling that undercut a pillar of membership in the European Union.
Speaking on a visit to Belgium on Friday, Merkel said that the bloc functions best when member states pull together to find a common solution, citing the EU’s pandemic recovery fund as an example. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said he agreed.
“We’re all EU members, and we need to find compromises without giving up on our principles,” she said. “We need to intensify our talks with the Polish government to find a solution -- political problems can’t always be solved in court.”
Tensions have intensified between Poland and the EU after the country’s nationalist government on Tuesday cemented a court ruling that challenges the primacy of EU law, which is written into the bloc’s treaty.
The Netherlands is calling for the EU to withhold 36 billion euros ($42 billion) in recovery money as a result of the spat, while the European Parliament is seeking to put legal pressure on the European Commission to take action against Poland.
Merkel called on the bloc’s leaders to await a decision by the European Court of Justice on the issue before acting further, saying she expects Poland to accept it.
“I find it sad if I hear voices from the European Parliament demanding that there should be legal steps against the Commission,” she said.
Merkel -- who will likely leave power before the end of the year after Finance Minister Olaf Scholz sealed a preliminary agreement to form a governing coalition -- urged Germany’s next leaders to continue on the path of compromise.
“In the EU, one always needs to find common ground between members, and they want different things” she said. “I hope the coming administration will continue on this path and find compromises.”
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