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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish MEP says EU officials hid inconvenient opinion on link between funds and rule of law

30.11.2020 20:45
Amid a row over a new EU sanctions mechanism, a Polish conservative Euro-MP has claimed that European officials have concealed an inconvenient legal opinion on a link between access to funds and respect for the rule of law.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski
Jacek Saryusz-WolskiW. Kusiński/Polskie Radio

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who has been a Eurodeputy since June 2004, on Monday accused officials he did not name of “dishonesty and manipulation” by “keeping secret” a legal opinion dated October 25, 2020.

He said the opinion testified to the “unlawfulness” of a proposed rule-of-law mechanism and pointed to its “incompatibility with the [EU's] Treaties.”

Saryusz-Wolski has published excerpts of the opinion by the Legal Service of the EU Council on his Twitter account.

Polish website tysol.pl said the opinion was “damaging for the idea of the European Parliament and the German presidency to tie access to European funds to respecting the rule of law."

Saryusz-Wolski's tweet came as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was set to hold talks in Warsaw with hiHungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán on Monday evening to discuss the EU's new budget amid a dispute over the proposed link between EU funds and the rule of law.

The Polish prime minister said at the end of last week he had reaffirmed his country's stance on the bloc’s spending plan for 2021-2027 during a telephone talk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Morawiecki said on Facebook on Friday he had confirmed Warsaw’s “readiness to veto the new budget if we do not find a solution that is good for the entire EU, and not only for some of its members."

Poland and Hungary have both opposed the adoption of the European Union's 2021-2027 budget, voicing their criticism of a proposed mechanism to tie access to EU funds to respect for the rule of law.

Morawiecki on Thursday travelled to Budapest to hold talks with Hungary's Orban, who has also lambasted the proposed new mechanism.

After that meeting, Poland’s prime minister warned that the proposed mechanism could lead to the EU breaking up.

Hungary's Orbán said this month his country vetoed the EU's new budget and post-coronavirus recovery fund because they would have forced it to accept immigration.

Poland's Morawiecki this month told EU leaders his country opposed the use of “non-objective criteria” to decide how much cash member states receive from Brussels.

Morawiecki earlier said in a letter to the bloc's leaders that his country could not accept a mechanism of this kind because it was based on “arbitrary and politically motivated criteria.”

He argued that such a system “could lead to sanctioning the application of double standards and different treatment of individual EU member states.”

Morawiecki's letter came after negotiators from the European Parliament and the German presidency of the EU this month reached an agreement on the rule of law mechanism for the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget.

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.

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

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

(gs/pk)

Source: tysol.pl, IAR