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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland, Hungary fighting to defend independence amid rule-of-law row: analyst

01.12.2020 15:00
Poland and Hungary are fighting to defend their independence amid a standoff over a plan to link access to European Union funds with adherence to the rule of law, an analyst has said.
Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski.
Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski.Photo: Polish Radio/PR24

Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski, a political scientist at the University of Łódź in central Poland, was speaking after Warsaw and Budapest threatened to veto the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget, voicing criticism of a proposed new method of deciding how much cash member states receive from Brussels.

'We are in no rush'

The EU's southern members will be trying to overcome the budget crisis caused by the veto from Warsaw and Budapest, and working to have the funds unlocked as soon as possible, Żurawski vel Grajewski said, as quoted by the interia.pl news website.

“And since we are fighting for independence, it is clear that the north [of the EU] should give in, so as to release money to help the countries of the south,” he said.

“We are in no rush, while the southern EU countries cannot wait for the new budget,” he added.

Żurawski vel Grajewski argued that while Poland’s economy was "in good condition," with public debt at “only about 60 percent of GDP,” southern EU members such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece were saddled by “monstrous debts ranging from 112 to 205 percent of GDP.”

“These countries urgently need money and are not able to borrow it on their own outside the EU structure,” he said.

North vs. south

Żurawski vel Grajewski also asserted that the EU’s northern member states, including Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and “the Scandinavian countries,” were seeking “to limit fund transfers under any pretext.”

He claimed that the EU’s rich north was seeking to deprive the bloc’s poor southern members of financial aid, while using the Polish and Hungarian veto as an argument, according to the interia.pl news website.

“The countries in the north of the EU tried to pit the south against the east, but instead they risk pitting the south against the north,” Żurawski vel Grajewski said, as quoted by interia.pl.

'Brutally deceived by the Germans'

Żurawski vel Grajewski also said that Poland and Hungary "have been brutally deceived by the Germans" and were "under no obligation to assist the German presidency in resolving the conflict” surrounding the EU budget.

He argued that the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism was originally proposed in July by officials representing the EU’s German presidency as a tool to fight corruption, and not as a vehicle of political pressure on the member states.

Warsaw and Budapest 'coordinate positions'

Meanwhile, the Polish and Hungarian prime ministers met in Warsaw on Monday evening to “coordinate positions” over the proposed rule-of-law mechanism opposed by the two countries.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki last week warned that the proposal to tie access to cash from Brussels with the rule of law could lead to the EU breaking up.

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

A Polish conservative Euro-MP has claimed that European officials have concealed an inconvenient legal opinion about the proposed new rule-of-law mechanism.

(gs/pk)

Source: interia.pltvp.info