Ruling party the only one able to defend Poland's interests - leader
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's governing party, has said that the Law and Justice dominated coalition is the only group in Polish politics that can defend Poland’s interests.
"The European Union is what it is,” said Kaczyński, who also serves as a deputy prime minister. “Our party is the only political grouping that is able to defend Poland's interests in these extremely difficult and dishonest conditions.”
In extracts from an interview, due to be published by the weekly Gazeta Polska later this week, Gazeta Polska Codziennie quoted Kaczyński as saying the main opposition grouping would give the EU whatever it wanted.
"They would accept everything," he said, in reference to recent negotiations over the EU budget.
Last week EU leaders reached a multi-billion-euro EU budget deal, which ended an impasse between the EU and Poland and Hungary over a clause linking funding to respect for the rule of law. The impasse had threatened to derail the bloc’s financing and a special pandemic recovery fund.
"Let me say it frankly that we have managed to win everything which was possible to achieve now in order to, on the one hand, secure Poland's position in the EU, and, on the other hand, to strengthen Poland's budget and the Polish economy with a huge amount of money," the Law and Justice leader said.
According to Kaczyński, the deal is like "a sabre, which we will be able to use if we are attacked."
He said that without the negotiated deal, without the detailed description of the results of Poland's demands and their inclusion in the set of guidelines binding in the EU, Poland would be much less effective.
He also claimed the deal had strengthened Poland’s position within the EU.
"And let us remember that Poland has received funds which in the current financial perspective are extremely profitable for our country," Kaczyński added.
Meanwhile, Konrad Szymański, the Polish European minister, said that "Poland has no reasons today to fear that it can lose EU funds because of the rule-of-law mechanism."
"We have high standards of control over the spending of public funds and we have no longer to be afraid of the European Commission's arbitrariness," he told the newspaper Rzeczpospolita on Monday.
"The decisions taken by the EU summit rule out in a very clear way the political misuse of the (rule-of-Law - PAP) mechanism in order to exert financial pressure on member states,"
Poland’s government has faced withering criticism, both at home and abroad, over a controversial overhaul of the judicial process. Critics in Brussels claim that it has undermined the rule of the law in Poland and threatens democratic standards, something the government denies.
Szymański added that it would be good if the dispute over the rule of law disappeared from the Poland-EU agenda, since it negatively affected mutual relations and social trust.
Poland's working relations with the EU were very good in many fields, the minister claimed, and that the rule-of-law dispute was an exception.
"We have had a series of bad experiences in this field which led the EU to a serious budget crisis. Huge efforts made it possible to avert this crisis, but we are aware of the fact that we have to be very cautious as far as this matter is concerned," he said.