Polish PM tells German chancellor Poland will stick to veto plan

Morawiecki said the conversation was held in a good atmosphere, with respect for the "difference of opinions." Andrzej Lange/PAP

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday he had told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Poland will stick to its EU budget veto plan if a rule-of-law clause is tied to funding.

"I told the chancellor that Poland expects further work to be carried out that will allow for a swift resolution that ensures the rights of all member states are guaranteed and EU treaties are respected," Morawiecki said on Facebook, adding that Poland is ready to veto the EU's next seven-year budget if no such solution was found.

On Friday morning, Morawiecki discussed with Merkel on the phone the negotiations on the EU's 2021-27 budget and the EUR 750-bln recovery fund for European crisis-hit economies, which Poland and Hungary have threatened to veto as they are opposed to any rule-of-law criteria being tied to the payout of funds.

Morawiecki said the conversation was held in a good atmosphere, with respect for the "difference of opinions."

"Our joint success that was the result of the July budget negotiations must now be translated into respective legal provisions, which will then be approved by all EU member states," Morawiecki wrote.

"At the beginning of the conversation I reiterated that we will defend the sovereign right of European countries to carry out changes and reforms as well as defending the letter and spirit of treaties that constitute primary and superior law over any legal acts and secondary mechanisms such as those included in the current proposals of European institutions. This statement is the foundation of our stance and a starting point for further talks," the prime minister wrote.

"I made it clear that a safety valve in the form of a veto must be there as a guarantee of taking the arguments and concerns of all member states into account," he added.

The head of Polish government said Poland believes EU regulations must be in line with EU treaties and European Council decisions as well as guaranteeing legal certainty. "The current draft regulation does not guarantee such certainty. Its criteria are general and subject to very broad interpretation," he wrote.

He said he had also asked Merkel "to analyse our arguments not only in view of the ongoing dispute, but also from the standpoint of Europe's consistency and the vision for its future."

Germany currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU and is responsible for the budget talks.

Poland and Hungary are the only two countries in the 27-member European bloc to oppose a clause linking EU funding to respect for the rule of law. Both Warsaw and Budapest have been at odds with the European Commission over what the commission sees as attempts to undermine the rule of law in the two countries.

On Thursday, the Polish and Hungarian prime ministers issued a joint declaration that said their positions had remained unchanged since the start of negotiations on the 2021-2027 budget in 2018 and that their common aim was to prevent the emergence of a mechanism that would weaken the rule of law in the EU by leading to it becoming a political tool.