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The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

EU wait! Von der Leyen warned key nation could be next to quit ‘Treating us like a COLONY’

Janusz Kowalski was speaking at a time of escalating tension between the and Warsaw, which became a member state in 2004. Speaking on Thursday, President said Poland must undo its new disciplinary system for judges in order to access to billions of euros of aid aimed at helping revive economic growth hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The move has stoked considerable anger in the former Eastern Bloc country, with Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta condemning what he called “illegal blackmail”.

Mr Kowalski, a member of the Polish Parliament who belongs to the centre-right Solidarna Polska party, told “Today, the EU is ruled by Berlin.

“It does not respect the EU treaties and treats Poland as a colony – it wants to take Poland’s sovereignty away.”

Mr Kowalski, who served as Secretary of State in the Ministry of State Assets from 2019 to 2021, added: “Poland is losing billions of euros to implement the EU climate policy.”

With Britain having paved the way, there have been tentative suggestions that a so-called Polexit might be on the cards.

While neither Mr Kowalski nor his party advocates quitting the bloc, especially in light of the fact that Poland continues to be a net beneficiary of the EU, he suggested the EU’s punitive stance inevitability made such an eventuality more likely.

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Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Friday, Ms von der Leyen said: “We want to put into that recovery and resilience plan a clear commitment to dismantle the disciplinary chamber, to end or reform the disciplinary regime and to start a process to reinstall the judges.

“I think it is doable, I hope that we will reach an agreement.”

However, using the Latin term for an indispensable condition, she added: “But the reform part is conditio sine qua non.”

Poland has said it will alter the disciplinary regime as part of broader reforms, but it has not yet presented detailed plans.

Mr Kaleta said: “There will be some changes in disciplinary proceedings, but we will not act under the pressure or illegal blackmail which is the course of action created by the European Commission.”

Meanwhile Poland summoned Belgium’s ambassador on Friday to express “disapproval and indignation” after Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo accused Warsaw of “playing with fire” in a worsening dispute with Brussels over the rule of law.

Ambassador Luc Jacobs was called in to see Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, the Polish foreign ministry said, adding: “Such public comments (as De Croo’s) do not contribute to a good climate in Polish-Belgian relations.”

Referring to comments made by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in an interview, Mr De Croo said in a speech on Wednesday: “You are playing a dangerous game.

“You are playing with fire when waging war with your European colleagues for internal political reasons.”

Mr Morawiecki told the Financial Times on Sunday Poland would use any means at its disposal to defend itself if Brussels were to start “the third world war” by withholding funds in a dispute over judicial reforms.