Poland faces fines in dispute with EU

Poland faces fines in dispute with EU

BRUSSELS — The European Union raised the stakes Wednesday in a standoff with Poland over judicial independence and the primacy of EU law, with the bloc’s top court fining Poland $1.2 million a day to prevent what it called “serious and irreparable harm” to the EU’s legal order and values.

The European Court of Justice imposed the penalty after a weeklong war of words in which Poland told the EU to stay out of its judicial affairs while other EU nations insisted that Warsaw could not continue to get huge EU subsidies while disregarding the bloc’s democratic principles.

“You cannot pocket all the money but refuse the values,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Wednesday, warning Poland not to treat the EU like “a cash machine.” The Court of Justice decided to siphon off some of that money, saying the daily fine was “necessary in order to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which that Union is founded, in particular that of the rule of law.”

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