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EU budget proposals hinder rapid agreement – Polish Dep FM

“Poland is ready to close negotiations on the next EU budget in line with the expectations of the EU, but the compromise must be of” proper quality, “Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański said on Thursday in the Seimas (lower house).

Szymański presented a report on Thursday concerning an EC-adopted draft decree defining the financial framework for 2021-2027, published together with drafts of executive ordinances and their consequences for Poland.

Szymański admitted that the current budget negotiations “will surely be among the most difficult in the EU’s history.”

“Poland (…) is well prepared for this debate,” he declared, stressing that “Poland’s position is shared by many countries. There is not a single Polish postulate that would be supported only by Poland (…), each one is backed by a group of countries.”

“We are ready to meet the EC’s expectations halfway and close these negotiations before the end of the political cycle in 2019 (…). We do not reject this but we clearly state that this ambitious plan can be successful only when compromise regarding this matter has a ‘fair and sensible quality.’ The EC proposals presented in late May do not meet this condition and hamper fast agreement,” he underlined.

According to Szymański, Poland is not only a political leader in this debate but also a conceptual one as thanks to Poland it was possible to prepare six conceptual documents regarding the financial framework, with special emphasis on the cohesion and agricultural policies.

The official stressed that the EC had proposed a smaller budget than the current one. “This is very important as we believe that it is impossible to implement ambitious goals without new funds. It is not serious to suggest that the EU should radically strengthen its committment to migration policy or defence (…) and not to say how to finance these tasks,” he stressed.

Opposition MPs, who called for the report, sharply criticised the government for its foreign policy. One Civic Platform MP stressed that “Poland has many friends in the EU but the Polish government has no allies.”

Szymański assured the Sejm that Poland “is not isolated” but admitted that the current negotiations were the most difficult in the EU’s history as “never before have there been so divergent interests and such a large-scale drop in incomes.”

“The EU is shrinking today, and this has significant financial consequences as Great Britain’s fee to the EU budget is significant,” he said, adding that there was also pressure in some EU countries to reduce fees to the EU budget.

“The ongoing conflict about the rule of law in Poland is not a reason,” he said, describing such a suggestion as absurd. Szymański stressed that there was not such a conflict between the EU and the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, or even Germany, and “these countries were treated in the same way as Poland.”

The official praised Poland for its spending of EU funds and declared readiness to strengthen control mechanisms.

He also said that budget negotiations “are a national matter” around which a responsible parliament should be united.

The EC presented a budget draft in late May. Poland is to receive EUR 64 billion in cohesion funds, that is EUR 19.5 billion less than in the current budget.

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