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English Section

UPDATE 2: Polish PM hails EU budget deal

11.12.2020 12:31
Poland’s prime minister has hailed a deal on the EU’s budget at a crunch summit in Brussels as a victory that would prevent “arbitrary” funding cuts for his country over the rule of law.
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki in Brussels.
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki in Brussels. Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Friday, a day after the agreement struck by EU leaders: "We have… large funds to support the development of the Polish economy, for its innovation, for many goals that must be implemented, especially during a quick recovery from the pandemic."

Poland is in line to receive PLN 770 billion from the bloc’s 2021-2027 long-term budget and coronavirus recovery fund.

Warsaw, along with Budapest, had warned that they could veto the bloc’s EUR 1.8 trillion (USD 2.18 trillion) budget and recovery plan.

Poland opposed an earlier proposal to make the pay-out of EU funds conditional on countries observing rule-of-law standards.

EU leaders on Thursday decided that the cash-for-rule-of-law mechanism would come into force, but with guarantees to assuage concerns in Warsaw.

Poland had protested that it could be financially punished by “arbitrary” political decisions from European officials critical of the conservative government in Warsaw.

Poland and Hungary deny accusations by Brussels of violating democratic principles and undermining the independence of their courts.

PM hails 'double victory'

Morawiecki said: "The agreement we have negotiated is a double victory. Firstly, the EU budget can enter into force and Poland will receive PLN 770 billion from it.

“Secondly, this money is secure, because the conditionality mechanism [linking EU funds to the rule of law] has been limited by very precise criteria. Today's conclusions [at the Brussels summit] block the possibility of changes to these rules in the future directed against Poland."

Public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported that the rules aimed to protect the EU budget from fraud and corruption. It added a finding that a country had violated the rule of law would not by itself be a reason to trigger a cut in funds from Brussels.

The Polish and Hungarian prime ministers nevertheless announced they would lodge a complaint against the “conditionality” mechanism to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s top court.

Morawiecki had previously told EU leaders that his country opposed the use of “non-objective criteria” to decide how much funds member states receive from the bloc.

(pk)

Source: PAP/IAR/Polish Radio