Mateusz Morawiecki told an online news service that “there is a good chance of an agreement, of finding a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides."
The European Commission in December took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over controversial changes to the justice system by the country’s ruling conservatives.
Morawiecki told the wPolityce.pl website that the odds of Warsaw striking a deal with Brussels can be estimated at around “65 to 70 percent at the moment.”
Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said last week that Poland wanted Brussels to withdraw its Article 7 procedure against Warsaw. He was speaking after the country’s ruling conservatives on Thursday signalled they were ready to accommodate some of the EU executive’s recommendations over sweeping changes to the court system in Poland.
Talks with EU officials have revealed “a great deal of understanding for our approach, our goals, but also a willingness to come to an agreement, to find a mutually acceptable compromise," Morawiecki told wPolityce.pl in an interview.
He said: “Compromise is always when both sides make some concessions. Sometimes it is then said diplomatically that both sides have won or that both sides had to grit their teeth.”
Morawiecki also told the website that he appreciated the “openness" of his partners in Brussels after several rounds of talks, specifically naming European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
Poland’s arguments are "slowly breaking through” in Brussels, Morawiecki said, adding that officials in Brussels had grown aware of “our pro-European attitude, our readiness to take responsibility for changes in the EU.”
He also said that Poland stood “the chance of becoming one of five EU countries that can jointly decide on the overall direction of the European community.”
‘Bitter’ price of compromise: conservative leader
Meanwhile, Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party told wPolityce.pl that his country’s "compromise" with Brussels over the "reform of the judiciary" came at a “considerable” price.
He also agreed with a reporter that Poland was paying a “bitter” price for making concessions to Brussels over legal changes.
Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party last week came forward with a legislative initiative to modify disputed laws regulating the work of the country's common court system and the Supreme Court.
Under the legislation, the justice minister would no longer be able to dismiss court presidents and deputy presidents without consulting judges and the powerful National Council of the Judiciary.
In a further modification of existing regulations which politicians said was intended to accommodate the European Commission’s recommendations, the retirement age of male and female judges would be set at an equal level of 65 years of age.
And in what appeared to be another step designed to help reach an agreement with Brussels, the country’s ruling conservatives said they were ready to publish three Constitutional Tribunal judgments that the ruling party argues the top court issued in violation of the law in 2016.
Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara
Kaczyński told wPolityce.pl that Poland’s ruling conservatives were emulating Hungarian leader Viktor Orban in their dealings with Brussels.
He said: “I’m not going to hide that we model ourselves on Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has often had to make unpleasant concessions.”
Kaczyński added that he would have preferred to “go full steam ahead with the reforms,” but a combination of internal and external circumstances had made events “play out differently.”
“We must take this into account,” he said.
Source: PAP, wPolityce.pl