Poland’s populists “really did it”, says Markus Becker in Der Spiegel. Warsaw’s highest court, stuffed with right-wing stooges, has ruled that EU law clashes with the country’s constitution. That sets up a showdown. The EU depends on all members playing by the same rules, but Poland’s PM, Mateusz Morawiecki, has given himself carte blanche to flout any he dislikes. Make no mistake, this is Poland’s de facto application to leave. “The gauntlet has been laid down.”
There are, however, two big differences to Brexit. The Poles “are much more EU-friendly than the British ever were”. And whereas Brexiteers talked about how much Britain paid into Europe, Poland receives more money from Brussels than any other country. So here’s what we should do: cancel “every cent” of the money they get. Start with the €36bn Poland is set to receive from the EU recovery fund, which corresponds to almost 7% of its GDP. Appeasers will say this punishes ordinary Poles, but they voted for Morawiecki’s government. And failure to act firmly would be an invitation to others to imitate Poland. That would be the beginning of the end of the EU, and for the single market – a catastrophic prospect not just for Germany, but for the whole continent.