Equal access to EU funds enshrined in treaties: Polish deputy FM
PR dla Zagranicy
All European Union member states have equal access to the bloc’s budget, a right protected by EU treaties, the Polish deputy foreign minister has said.
Konrad Szymański, Poland’s deputy foreign minister for European affairs. Picture: tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu
Konrad Szymański was speaking after EU commissioners on Wednesday came out in favour of tying pay-outs of funds to the observance of the rule of law in member states, a move that is strongly opposed by Warsaw.
Referring to suggestions that new rules for access to EU funds could be adopted in the form of a regulation, without the requirement of unanimity, Szymański said: "Any formula that does not fulfill treaty rules, which means unanimity in the European Council, may turn out to be an unlawful breach of [EU] treaties."
He added that the European Commission “must proceed very carefully here.”
Szymański told Poland’s PAP news agency that the position of the Polish government on the EU executive’s proposal will depend on the "final wording of these provisions."
"We will not accept any discretionary mechanisms that would turn the management of funds into a made-to-order instrument of political pressure," he said.
“The budget must be governed by law, not discretion," he added.
European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said on Wednesday that EU bosses would make a final decision next week on introducing conditions for pay-outs of the bloc’s funds, a step that could see Poland take a big financial hit.
Jourova was speaking after the European Commission, the EU’s executive, earlier in the day held a debate on the bloc’s budget after 2020.
The PAP news agency said it had been told by a European Commission source that under the plans, EU cohesion funds could be frozen for a country considered not to have independent courts, as could Common Agricultural Policy funds.
The government in Warsaw has been locked in a dispute with Brussels over sweeping changes to courts in Poland.
The European Commission in December took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland.
The EU’s next budget is expected to be unveiled on May 2.