A correspondent for public broadcaster Polish Radio reported, citing “unofficial information”, that Warsaw’s ambassador to the EU said Poland wanted an agreement on the budget as soon as possible, but could not accept a mechanism to make the pay-out of funds from Brussels conditional on member states’ adherence to the rule of law.
Hungary also opposes the new rule-of-law mechanism, which was approved earlier by a majority of votes.
Warsaw and Budapest have denied accusations by Brussels of violating democratic principles and undermining the independence of their courts.
The two countries refused to give their backing to the bloc’s next budget at a meeting of ambassadors from EU governments in Brussels on Monday afternoon, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
EU ministers for European affairs are expected to discuss the 2021-27 budget on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the package is expected to be a key topic when the leaders of the 27 EU countries hold a video conference that was originally planned as a meeting solely on the coronavirus pandemic, IAR reported.
The Reuters news agency cited a senior EU diplomat as saying that a veto of the EU budget could create a crisis in the bloc.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week that his country could not accept a link between access to EU funds and respect for the rule of law because the mechanism was based on “arbitrary and politically motivated criteria.”
He argued that such a mechanism “could lead to sanctioning the application of double standards and different treatment of individual EU member states.”
In December 2017, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over contested judicial reforms.
Click on the "Play" button above to listen to an audio report