Zoltán Kiszelly says the European Commission wants to break up the Polish coalition government.Continue reading
There is no threat to Poland’s cohesion and agricultural funds from the European Union, Radoslaw Fogiel, a spokesman for the ruling coalition Law and Justice (PiS) party, said on Wednesday in response to press reports.
Fogiel was interviewed by commercial radio, Radio Plus about an article in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita on Monday, which reported that the European Commission would withhold the bulk of EU funds to Poles over the much-debated judicial reform. Fogiel says what happened was that a newspaper blew up the words of a rather low-ranking EC official. The politician was probably referring to Marc Lemaitre, the Commission’s director-general for regional affairs, who said Brussels was withholding “virtually all funds to Poland until it puts its judicial system in order,” Magyar Nemzet, a Hungarian news site reported.
Several Polish commentaries on the Rzeczpospolita article quoted EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn as saying in mid-September that no direct link had been found between Poland’s judicial problems and the threat to EU funds.
EU agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski told the PAP news agency on Monday that the issue of the Polish court reform had no impact on cohesion funds.
This was confirmed by government spokesman Piotr Müller, who said on Monday that Warsaw has not received any notification from the Commission on the possible withholding of cohesion and agricultural funds. In a later interview, Müller also commented that Brussels had so far not disbursed EU recovery funds to Warsaw for reconstruction after the coronavirus epidemic, saying that negotiations on the technical details were ongoing.
Meanwhile, Hungary is also waiting for the EU to release the money it is due from the recovery fund. But the EU is linking these to the fulfillment of so-called ‘milestones.’ According to the Minister for Regional Development, Tibor Navracsics, Hungary’s government has been negotiating about the EU funds with the European Commission on three points: the conditionality mechanism, the cohesion funds, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money, and even though these are supposed to be independent, they are connected.
Senior Hungarian politicians say they are close to an agreement and the long-awaited money could arrive soon. This is also important because the government plans to use some of the EU funds to give a much awaited pay increase for teachers.
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