Poland v EU. Understanding what’s happened, rediscovering European "first principles” and thinking counter – strategies

The history might have stopped for Polish Constitutional Court in 2015-2016. After 30 years of building an impressive resume as one of the most influential and successful European constitutional courts and living proof of “the rule of law in action”, the Court has fallen under the relentless attack of the rightwing populist government and succumbed to it. The paper moves beyond hitherto dominant perspective of “here and now” and lawyers’ fixation on the boat, and instead focus more on the journey and important lessons the journey might teach us and enhance the understanding of “our boats”. Polish case (“a boat”) is much more than just an isolated example of yet another government going rogue. There is an important European dimension to what has transpired in Poland over the last 20 months. To understand what and why had happened in Poland, one has to take a longer view and revisit not only the 2004 Accession, but also the 1989 constitutional moment.