| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

Poland summons Belgian ambassador in rule of law row -PAP

Poland has summoned Belgium’s ambassador, a foreign ministry spokesman told state-run news agency PAP, after Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo accused Warsaw of “playing with fire” in a worsening dispute with Brussels over the rule of law.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday that Poland would defend itself with any means at its disposal if Brussels was to start “the third world war” by withholding funds in a dispute over judicial reforms.

“You are playing a dangerous game, you are playing with fire when waging war with your European colleagues for internal political reasons,” De Croo said in a speech in Bruges on Wednesday, according to a transcript.

Polish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lukasz Jasina told PAP the Belgian ambassador had been summoned to the Foreign Ministry at 1230 GMT over De Croo’s comments.

The Belgian Embassy in Warsaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The European Commission has demanded that Poland undo a disciplinary regime for judges that critics say increases political control over the courts in order to unlock 36 billion euros ($42 billion) of grants and loans to help its economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, part of growing financial pressure on Warsaw.

The EU’s top court has also imposed fines of 1 million euros a day on Poland for failing implement a ruling to dissolve a disciplinary chamber for judges.

Warsaw has condemned the use of financial penalties as “blackmail”.

  • Reuters