The leading Europhile tweeted: “Even the Commission’s patience has run out. Better late than never… The PiS government is playing with Poland’s EU membership, against the welfare & wishes of an overwhelming majority of polish citizens”.
Mr Verhofstadt was responding to a tweet by EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders on the bloc’s launching of legal action against Poland for alleged breaches of EU law by the country’s top court.
His tweet reads: “Today, we are launching an infringement procedure against #Poland for violations of EU law by its Constitutional Tribunal.
“We’ve tried to engage in a dialogue but the situation is not improving.
“Fundamentals of the EU legal order, notably the primacy of EU law, must be respected”.
Mr Verhofstadt’s post sparked an immediate backlash with Twitter user @KVivuli commenting: “Let the people of Poland have a Vote and see if it is against their wishes”
@seangbuckley mocked, “Things not all hunky-dory in EUtopia then”, while @MariusxC noted, “The cracks widen!”.
He said: “I think that more and more European Union member states are seeing that there must be a limit to [the EU’s] competences.”
Express.co.uk readers urged the Polish people to take back their freedom.
BarrieWatson commented: “Keep your sovereign freedom Poland. The EU must change”.
Deanb64 urged: “Get out if you still have some control of your country left, don’t let yourself be ruled by unelected nobodies”.
Foxxx warned: “The EU is predictably exceeding its powers and veering towards authoritarian and totalitarian government”.
The comments echo those made by Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta who wrote on Twitter: “The EC is initiating proceedings and wants to subordinate the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland to EU law.
“This is an attack on the Polish constitution and our sovereignty”.
According to the Notes from Poland news website, a poll in August carried out by SW Research for the Rzeczpospolita daily found 17 percent of respondents answered positively when asked whether Poland should leave the EU.
Another 62 percent responded negatively and just over 20 percent said they did not have an opinion.
Further polling by IBRiS in November last year for Rzeczpospolita saw 11 percent of respondents say they supported leaving the EU.