Deputy FM warns junior coalition partner over stance on EU summit outcome

Paweł Supernak/PAP

A deputy foreign minister in the Polish government has demanded a junior partner in the governing coalition to “act responsibly” when responding to the budget deal struck between the EU and Poland on Thursday.

The deal ends an impasse between the EU and Poland and Hungary, which also had objected to the budget in its original form, but could exacerbate tensions within the United Right governing coalition.

Zbigniew Ziobro, the justice minister and leader of Solidarna Poland, a junior partner, struck a discordant note by claiming the deal “will significantly limit Poland's sovereignty”.

Reacting to this Pawel Jablonski told PAP: "What we need is more consideration on the part of Solidarna Poland politicians with regard to the outcome of the EU summit. I hope Solidarna Poland will behave responsibly.”

His comments came just hours after Ziobro had issued a statement saying that "the regulation regarding a specific rule of law conditionality mechanism will make it possible to significantly limit Poland's sovereignty," and added that "it also violates the EU Treaties."

According to Ziobro, "the decision to approve the regulation in a budget package without legally binding safeguards is a mistake."

Ziobro wrote that "the regulation which makes Poland's access to the EU budget dependent on the European Commission’s arbitrary, political and ideological evaluation will unfortunately come into effect."

Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, announced in Brussels on Thursday evening that EU leaders had reached an agreement on the EU budget and the Recovery Fund.

"We have an agreement on the EU budget and the recovery package,” he said. “Now we can start implementing it and rebuilding our economy. Our landmark recovery package will drive forward our green and digital transitions."

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the deal a double victory, and added that, in accordance with the decisions taken by the summit, the European Commission had been obliged to include them in the EU's legislation and to apply the regulation regarding a specific rule of law conditionality mechanism only when it was compatible with the summit conclusions.

Jablonski stated that the outcome of the summit was Poland's success since "it includes a legal obligation for the European Commission, which limits the use of the conditionality mechanism and excludes all the elements that were important for Poland.

"The conditionality mechanism will be limited to a situation in which there is a real threat to the EU budget, namely, when there are incidents of financial abuse, corruption and extortion," Jablonski said, adding that this is what Poland was interested in.

"Concrete incidents instead of abstract and general descriptions. This would be dangerous, and this is what we have managed to avoid," the deputy foreign minister stated, adding that Poland had won lasting guarantees.