FM: Brussels could be more effective in negotiating new EU budget

PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Wednesday that talks on the European Union's new budget are highly polarised and there could be some reservations about the effectiveness of the European Commission in getting member states to reach an agreement.

Speaking at the In.Europa think tank gathering, Czaputowicz said that defending the Polish vision of the EU's budget for the period between 2021 and 2027 ranks among the key foreign policy challenges.

This vision entails a strong EU with a "serious budget."

"As it happens, countries which favour a strong EU want to reduce this budget," he noted, whereas Polish authorities "want an ambitious budget, with the two traditional policies (cohesion and agricultural policy) retained, and with the financial losses after Great Britain's exit from the EU compensated for."

Moreover, Poland's top diplomat said, there are new challenges, such as defence cooperation (the PESCO scheme), migration and technology.

According to Czaputowicz, the EC's budget proposal represents a reduction and therefore is "unfavourable", but less so than had been expected, mainly thanks to telephone calls made to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The foreign minister pointed out that Poland has taken on a "prominent role" in defending the EU's cohesion policy, with countries such as Latvia leading the way among the 13 EU members supporting the programme.

However, Czaputowicz added that with almost half of the countries declaring themselves as cohesion-policy friendly, this makes for a polarised situation, so "some reservations or doubts could be raised about the Commission's effectiveness in getting members to agree on their positions through negotiations."

French Ambassador to Poland Pierre Levy, who also contributed to the discussion, noted that agreeing on the EU's revenues, expenditures and policies in the future will "not be easy" and national elections will play a part in the negotiations.