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UPDATE: Polish MPs back gov’t amid tensions over EU rule-of-law plan

19.11.2020 18:21
Polish deputies on Thursday passed a resolution supporting the government's stance on negotiating the EU’s next budget, amid tensions over tying access to funds from Brussels with respect for the rule of law.
Jarosław Kaczyński (centre), the leader of Polands ruling conservatives, in parliament on Thursday.
Jarosław Kaczyński (centre), the leader of Poland’s ruling conservatives, in parliament on Thursday. Photo: PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

The resolution voiced opposition to any mechanism that contains "unclear, imprecise" rules that could be "interpreted in a biased way".

It added that under such regulations, the pay-out of funds from the EU budget could be blocked by an arbitrary decision from the European Commission.

Polish deputies passed the resolution with a vote of 236 to 209.

The European Union's 2021-2027 budget was expected to be debated at a video summit of EU leaders on Thursday evening.

Poland’s prime minister warned on Wednesday that his country could veto the bloc’s spending plan.

In a hard-hitting speech in parliament, Mateusz Morawiecki said: "If our partners do not understand that we do not agree to the unequal treatment of [member] states, to a stick which will always be used against us, just because someone does not like our government, then we will actually use this veto in the end."

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, ambassadors from EU governments by a majority of votes approved a mechanism to make the pay-out of the bloc’s funds conditional on member states’ adherence to the rule of law, a move that has irritated Warsaw.

Poland and Hungary have denied EU accusations of violating democratic principles and undermining the independence of their courts.

The EU budget must be approved unanimously by the bloc’s 27 member states.

Most Poles are against the idea of linking access to EU funds to respect for the rule of law, a survey has found.

Morawiecki said last week that his country could not accept a mechanism of this kind because it was based on “arbitrary and politically motivated criteria.”

(pk)

Source: PAP