Polish minister for European affairs leaves post
Poland's minister for European affairs, Konrad Szymanski, confirmed on Wednesday that he was leaving the position with immediate effect.
Asked by private TV broadcaster Polsat News what the reasons were for leaving the office, Szymanski explained that he had sought a de-escalation of various disputes for a long time but in many cases had been unsuccessful. He also said his departure had been agreed to by the prime minister.
"However, this fundamental (rule-of-law - PAP) dispute constantly encounters various types of blocks, both in Poland and in Brussels," Szymanski continued. "I think new openings, including in personnel, may help that."
He added that this "fundamental dispute" concerned "a serious controversy about how to implement rule-of-law principles in a member state," going on to say the disagreement was harmful for both Poland and the EU and that ideally it should be eliminated.
According to Szymanski, there is no controversy within the EU as to the importance of the rule-of-law principle itself.
"It is a key principle both for the Polish constitution and the EU treaties," he said. "However, we have a dispute about what it means in very concrete, defined circumstances and that is a dispute that has lasted a very long time, brings a lot of... costs and it would be good to end it. For that, good will is needed on both sides."
He went on to say the rule-of-law dispute was multi-faceted.
"Unfortunately over the years it has grown into very many aspects," he said. "It can definitely not be reduced simply to how to introduce the milestone of the National Recovery Plan (KPO)."
The European Commission (EC) approved Poland's KPO in early June, opening the way for Warsaw to get EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans. But the EC has long been at loggerheads with Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and froze Warsaw's access to the funds until it meets several rule-of-law milestones.