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Compromise reached over Poland's church funding

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 21.02.2013 13:37
Poles will be able to allot 0.5 percent of their income tax to the Church from 2014 according to a preliminary agreement made today to replace state funding.

Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw (L) and Minister of Administration and Digitization Michal Boni (R): photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka

“I hope that this 'working compromise' will be accepted by the government and the Episcopate,” Minister of Administration and Digitization Michal Boni said after today's meeting, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

Talks between ministers and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church began in April 2012, after the government announced plans to abolish the state's Church Fund as part of a wide-ranging austerity drive.

The Church Fund technically covers all religious denominations, but with 90 percent of the population being Roman Catholic, the vast majority of the annual funding goes to the Catholic Church.

Separate talks with representatives of Poland's smaller religious denomination will be held later this afternoon.

A sum of about 89 million zloty (21.3 million euro) per year is now in line to be cut from the state's expenditure.

Church representatives had initially argued that the Polish tax-payers should be allowed to allot from 0.8 to 1 percent of their income tax, if the Church Fund is abolished.

The government had proposed 0.3 percent.

In spite of state expenditure via the Church Fund, the vast majority of the Church's annual funding – some 80 percent – already comes directly through donations by the faithful. (nh)

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