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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland will not accept linking EU funds to rule of law: deputy FM

17.11.2020 14:30
Poland will not agree to a new mechanism that would link access to EU funds with respect for the rule of law, a deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

“This is a red line that must not be crossed if the financial framework for the coming years is to be agreed,” said Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, referring to the European Union's 2021-27 budget.

At a meeting of ambassadors from EU governments in Brussels on Monday, Poland and Hungary refused to give the green light to the EU’s next budget and its COVID recovery programme. 

The move is not a yet a final veto for the bloc’s budget, which must be approved unanimously by the EU’s 27 member states.

Earlier that day, the ambassadors by a majority of votes approved a mechanism to make the pay-out of funds from Brussels conditional on member states’ adherence to the rule of law.

Warsaw and Budapest have denied accusations by Brussels of violating democratic principles and undermining the independence of their courts.

Szynkowski vel Sęk told Polish public broadcaster TVP on Tuesday: “There can be no agreement to this [planned new mechanism], because it is inconsistent with European law, and secondly, it is a [form] of political pressure directed towards specific countries...”

He added: “An additional argument is the fact that the [EU’s] multiannual financial framework has to be ratified by parliaments. It is difficult to imagine that in the Polish parliament there would be a majority to accept this kind of conditionality mechanism, and that was also clearly communicated to our partners.”

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.

(pk)

Source: PAP/IAR/Polish Radio