PM defends justice minister over comments in Financial Times
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has played down suggestions made by the justice minister that Poland should suspend paying its EU dues if the bloc withholds funding over a rule-of-law dispute.
Zbigniew Ziobro made the suggestion in an interview published by the Financial Times on Sunday. He also said Poland should veto key EU policies until the dispute is settled.
Poland and the EU have been locked in a dispute over an overhaul of the judicial system by Warsaw, which Brussels sees as undermining judges' independence and politicising the legal system.
Ziobro's comments triggered speculation of a possible rift in the government between the justice minister, who is also the leader of a junior party in Poland’s coalition government, and Morawiecki.
But on Tuesday, Morawiecki appeared un-phased by the justice minister’s interview.
"Everyone has the right to present their views," Morawiecki said. "And I can only say that from the many voices that appear in the public space, both the more restrained ones and the more offensive, I always draw some experience.
"And no-one need be offended here," he continued, adding that the situation is extremely complex and that "we are the subject of unprecedented and dishonest treatment on the part of the European Commission (EC).
"However, luckily the Polish economy is doing very well," Morawiecki went on, pointing out that local governments had received huge funds thanks to the government's hallmark Polish New Deal package.
"We're not complaining of a lack of funds here, however of course we are going to fight for Poland to be treated justly," the prime minister said.
In its article on Sunday, the Financial Times highlighted the fact that due to the dispute with Brussels, the European Commission has delayed payment of EUR 36 billion from its post-Pandemic recovery fund, and that the European Parliament is pressuring the EC to make use of a "conditionality mechanism" enshrined in the funding rules that ties payments to member states' adherence to key principles, including the rule of law.