Only PM can comment on EU budget negotiations - presidential aide

The Polish president's chief aide has said that any communication concerning negotiations over the next EU budget should come from one source only, namely Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Krzysztof Szczerski was referring to comments made in Brussels last Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, who said a compromise might be possible over a contested conditionality clause tying funding to observance by member states of the rule of law.

Gowin said that even if negotiations could not be reopened on the form of the conditionality clause, "binding interpretative declarations" may be a way forward. Gowin said such interpretative declarations could be prepared by the European Commission's services and confirmed by the European Council.

"In a situation of negotiation tensions, in which we are today, negotiation communications must come from one source," Szczerski told PAP. "That source is Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. No other propositions by anybody else should currently take place."

Szczerski said President Andrzej Duda would receive reports from the prime minister on the state of negotiations. "That is the task of the prime minister, who is a member of the European Council, and any other communications - including mine - should not occur today. We must maintain discipline in these negotiations," Szczerski said.

"I can only repeat that the only path that can lead to consensus in these negotiations must be the path of the treaties," Szczerski continued. "No consensus is possible outside of the treaties. Everything that the treaties contain, that has been accepted by Poland when we accepted the EU treaties, including the Lisbon Treaty, is the field of consensus."

Szczerski went on to say that there must be "consistency and uniformity" in the negotiations.

The next round of talks on the EU's future seven-year financial perspective will take place on December 10-11 during a European Council summit when EU leaders will try to find a way out of the current impasse whereby both Poland and Hungary have threatened to veto the budget if the conditionality clause is included in its current form.

The 2021-2027 budget and Recovery Fund form a package worth EUR 1.8 trillion, access to which is conditioned on observance of the rule of law through a mechanism adopted by a qualified majority of member states.