Poland's lower house calls for return to talks on EU budget

The Sejm (lower house) on Thursday passed a resolution calling for a return to negotiations and the reaching of an agreement on the next EU budget.

The resolution, authored by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, calls on the governments of all EU member states and EU bodies to return to talks and to reach an agreement in line with EU treaties and the conclusions of the July European Council.

In the document, the Sejm declared that it would not agree to any solutions that would not provide EU member states with a guarantee of the compliance of their rights, which are enshrined in the treaties.

The authors of the resolution wrote that any proposals containing "unclear, imprecise and biased regulations" must be rejected as, in such situations, access to EU funds could be blocked on grounds of an "arbitrary decision of the European Commission."

During the second reading of the draft, Slawomir Nitras, deputy head of the Civic Coalition (KO) caucus, the largest opposition caucus in Poland's parliament, in his criticism of the draft said that the long-term effect of the current government's policy may lead to "Poland's exit from the EU." "Your resolution is ridiculous, and even if you adopt it here today, it will testify to what you stand for," said Nitras.

Andrzej Szejna, speaking on behalf of the Left party caucus, turned to the PiS MPs and told them that their "resistance to the rule of law in Poland and Europe" was not understood anywhere and would truly harm all Poles and the Polish economy.

In his address to the lower house on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland rejects any unequal treatment of member states and that it could veto the EU's budget over plans to link rule of law to access to EU funding.

At a meeting of ambassadors from EU governments in Brussels on Monday, Poland and Hungary refused to give a green light to the European Union's next budget and its COVID-19 recovery programme because the bloc's funding was made conditional on upholding rule-of-law standards, such as an independent judiciary.