EU budget dispute puts Polish sovereignty at stake: PM

The aspect of the EU budget is a question of whether or not our fate will remain in our hands; it is a game for Polish sovereignty, said the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in the Sejm (Lower House) on Wednesday. He added that Poland would veto the budget should its partners not understand that the country does not agree to “unequal treatment of states”.

“This is not a division between the right wing and the left wing, it is a division between those who want the Polish nation to decide for itself and those who want Polish fate to be decided by a few officials in Brussels”, Mr Morawiecki said.

"2020 is a very strange, difficult year and it will be possible to leave this year with the shield if we are in solidarity, if we pursue a policy solely in the interest of the Polish state, the Polish nation”, he added.

The PM stated that the government strives for the EU to be free of double standards, to become a community where each member state is treated equally.

“An EU where there is a European oligarchy that punishes the weaker, this is not the Union we entered; there is no consent for this”, he said, adding that work on the budget is “a turning point in the history of the European Union”.

In the opinion of PM Morawiecki, the EU means values, not introducing regulations to get around treaties. He said that the notion of the rule of law and its violation were in recent years used by EU officials “as a propaganda tool”.

The particularly controversial element of the draft budget is the provision on the possible conditioning of the allocation of EU funds on an assessment of the state of the rule of law in Member States. Poland and Hungary are against such a provision.

Since the EU budget must be approved unanimously by all member states, with Poland and Hungary being against such a provision, works on the financial framework will have to start anew.

Severe criticism by opposition

Opposition representatives severely criticised the PM's speech. Borys Budka, the leader of the Civic Coalition (PO) party called Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki "a traitor to the national interest".

"Today, anyone who threatens a veto against a good budget for Poland is betraying the national interest," he said. He appealed to the PM to adopt the EU budget and resign from his post.

Mr Budka, called the Prime Minister's speech "a festival of lies, hypocrisy and slander not only against the opposition, but above all, against our partners in the EU".

In turn, the head of the Left, Krzysztof Gawkowski, announced that he would submit a draft resolution on the obligation imposed on the PM to adopt the long-term EU budget.

"The EU budget for the years 2021-2027 is an opportunity to get out of the pandemic relatively unscathed, to give ourselves a chance to rebuild the economy, to invest in infrastructure and, above all, have financial resources for health care", Mr Gawkowski pointed out.