Kaczyński accuses EU of using funds to force gov't change
Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland's ruling party, has accused the European Union of withholding money from a post-pandemic recovery fund to promote Polish opposition parties and improve their chances of ousting the government.
The European Commission has frozen Poland’s access to the fund over a protracted rule-of-law dispute. Brussels has said Warsaw has failed to either reverse or alter changes to the Polish judicial system it believes threatens the independence of the judiciary.
Poland rejects this arguing that it has already enacted changes to the system that comply with the EU’s stipulations. It also claims Brussels’s decision to continue to withhold access to the fund is motivated by politics rather than a genuine concern to protect the rule of law.
"The biggest problem in talks with Brussels are not our proposals, but the credibility of the other side," Kaczyński, who is chairman of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), said in an interview with PAP on Wednesday.
"There is a question whether they really care about any tangible issues, or whether the point is to radically help the opposition to win, to achieve an optimal election result from the point of view of Germany," Kaczyński said.
"PO (Civic Platform, Poland's main opposition party - PAP) is a German party, I keep repeating that," he added.
However, Kaczyński said the government was flexible and admitted that Poland would benefit from the funding.
"Undoubtedly, the money would help us maintain Poland's strong economic growth... regardless of the fact that European funds are now responsible for a small fraction of Poland's growth."
Poland stands to receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans from the fund. Warsaw is yet to send an application to the EC for the disbursement of the funds.