Law and Justice
But Warsaw is flexing its muscles to lash out against the EU more generally. The PiS government has rejected the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on its reforms of the judiciary. And Warsaw refuses to pay the penalties imposed by the CJEU, which to date amount to over 130 million euros.
Tusk's announcement is important because it means the liberal opposition has received support from maverick politician Pawel Kukiz, whose four MPs are currently key to PiS maintaining its parliamentary majority. To support the opposition request, Kukiz has asked for the commission to have a broader remit, investigating surveillance under several governments, including Civic Platform ones.
The right-wing populist party dismissed appeals from EU institutions to reconsider the law and contained the subsequent mass street protests that engulfed the country, suffering only an initial drop in opinion polls before bouncing back. Enjoying the support of around 37 per cent of voters, PiS remains far ahead of the opposition in the polls.
"Prime Minister Viktor Orban discussed the creation of a new European political grouping in a video conference with Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Lega party, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, vice-president of the Law and Justice party (PiS)," Bertalan Havasi, the prime minister's press chief, announced on Wednesday.
The fine is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between Warsaw and Brussels over rule of law, which reached a critical moment earlier this month, when the politically controlled Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that some articles in EU Treaties were not compatible with the Polish Constitution.