European Commission makes severe cuts to cohesion funds for Poland

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański Adam Guz WŁAS PAP

The European Commission (EC) is to present a new methodology of dividing cohesion policy funds among the EU member states, which could leave Poland with 23 percent less money compared to the current European budget, PAP was told by a Brussels source.

Poland will still receive the biggest share from Cohesion Policy funds.

According to information PAP acquired from the EC, Poland is going to receive EUR 64.4 bln in the 2021-2027 budget in 2018 prices. Under the current budget, Poland receives EUR 83 bln in 2018 prices.

Italy is going to be the second biggest beneficiary with EUR 38.6 bln. According to earlier leaks, Eastern European countries will lose most as a result of the new methodology while EU southern members, notably Italy and Spain, will benefit most.

The decision is to be taken at Tuesday's meeting of European commissioners, who can still make changes to it, the source said.

According to the EC's guidelines, the cuts for individual member states could be as high as 24 percent. Considering this, Poland is going to be the most affected. Potential increases, on the other hand, could reach a maximum of 8 percent. The total decrease in the cohesion policy funds would be 10 percent.

In early May, the EC adopted a draft EU budget for 2021-2027, with cuts to the cohesion policy at 7 percent and the common agricultural policy at 5 percent. This is a consequence of the decision to leave the EU made by the United Kingdom, a major contributor to the common budget.

Poland invests cohesion policy money mainly in transport infrastructure, innovation, support for businesses, environment protection, power generation as well as cultural and educational projects.

The final decision on the EU budget will have to be made unanimously by the member states. However, directives on the division of funds may be adopted by qualified majority.

Later in the day, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański, who is responsible for EU affairs, said Poland and other countries in its region would not accept such changes.

"Such proposals will not go through. We have a wide camp of countries that do not accept the solutions proposed by the EC," Szymański told PAP.

The minister said Poland was ready to seek a compromise but "the division of cohesion policy funds must be just, and countries from our region should be treated fairly versus other needs and other regions."

He added that the suggested decrease of funds for Poland and other Central European countries "is unacceptable."