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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » July 6, 2018
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Poland–EU Dispute Continued
July 6, 2018   
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May 28:
The Polish government may face further complications in the ongoing dispute with the EU, the daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna wrote against the background of the approaching visit of the Council of Europe delegation to Warsaw.
The delegation will look into whether the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are adhered to.
Polish local governments reps plan to raise such issues as the recent pay cuts, re-centralization of the state and the growing burden of new tasks they are assigned without receiving new funds for the purpose, they told the daily.

May 28:
Polish beneficiaries signed 35,400 deals for PLN 187.9 billion in EU funds from the 2014-2020 budget pool as of May 27, 2018, with the value of deals signed up by PLN 3.1 billion month on month, Investments and Development Ministry said. A total of 83,800 motions for PLN 317.7 billion in EU financing were submitted by that date, for projects worth PLN 515.3 billion.

May 31:
Poland could be facing a ca. EUR 24 billion cut in EU cohesion funds versus the previous EU budget, to EUR 64.4 billion, under the block's new multi-annual budgetary framework, according to a statement from the European Commission.
Poland will still receive the biggest share of the EU's entire cohesion policy budget for the years 2021-2027, seen at EUR 373 billion in commitments, the EC statement shows. Poland will thus receive EUR 64.4 billlion in 2018 prices, or EUR 72.2 billion in fixed prices (taking into account future inflation).
For the 2021-2027 budgetary framework, EU proposed to modernize its Cohesion Policy with a view to focusing on "key investment priorities" and providing "a more tailored approach to regional development", along with "fewer, clearer and shorter rules and a more flexible framework", EC said in the statement.
PM Mateusz Morawiecki said May 29 Poland will definitely object to the European Commission's proposal of slashing cohesion policy funds in the new EU budget, along with all the other countries facing such cuts.
Earlier in May, Investment and Development Minister Jerzy Kwieciński told public radio that Poland could suffer a 10% decline in cohesion funds and a 15% in common agri cultural policy funds in the new EU budget pool, citing his ministry's calculations.

June 3:
Poland faces a ca. 1% cut in direct subsidies for farmers and a ca. 25% slash in rural development funds, the 2021-2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) draft budget proposed by the European Commission (EC) shows.

June 4:
The Polish government will not agree to a cut in cohesion funds for the country by 25%, cabinet minister Jacek Sasin told broadcaster TOK FM. The government has "strong arguments" as the budget is approved unanimously, he added.

June 5:
Poland will have to fill the gap from reduced EU funds in the coming years with financial instruments such as instruments offered by the EIB, Investments and Development Minister Jerzy Kwieciński said during a conference.

June 6:
Poland is "well prepared" for the negotiations on the new EU budget, deputy foreign affairs minister Konrad Szymański assured, adding that the budget won't be adopted in the currently proposed shape.

June 7:
Poland is not the only EU member state dissatisfied with the new EU budget proposed by the European Commission so the budget "will certainly be changed," deputy foreign affairs minister Konrad Szymański told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily in an interview.

June 7:
Poland willy likely soon find itself under more pressure from the European Commission with regard to observance of rule of law as deputy head Frans Timmermans plans to discuss the issue during his visit to the country in the coming weeks, according to unofficial information accessed by daily Rzeczpospolita. Timmermans wants Poland to make further concessions and is backed by the so far more consensual EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, an unnamed EC rep told the newspaper off the record.

June 8:
Poland is "very concerned" about possible cuts to the EU's cohesion budget and "cannot accept" the latest proposed allocation of funds, Minister of Infrastructure Jerzy Kwieciński said in Sofia.

June 15:
Poland has likely finished its charm offensive versus the European Commission and will likely harden its stance at a meeting of PM Mateusz Morawiecki with EC deputy head Frans Timmermans, Polska the Times speculated, pointing to recent shifts in rhetoric by government officials. Poland may go as far as demanding a formal vote of article 7 procedure, PiS MEPs suggested.

June 19:
Poland may avoid a debate in the Council of the EU on observance of rule of law in the country if it signals readiness to further tweak its judiciary reform before June 26, unspecified sources in the European Commission (EC) told daily Rzeczpospolita following the June 18 meeting of EC deputy head Frans Timmermans with PM Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw. By contrast, forcing certain Polish supreme court judges to retire on July 3 will make reaching a compromise even more difficult, they warned. Neither of the two sides showed willingness to make any concessions on Monday, according to unofficial information cited by Rzeczpospolita.

June 20:
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki moved during a Tuesday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to secure Germany's support in Poland's continuing conflict with the EU over rule of law issues. Morawiecki spilled all details of his recent discussion with European Commission's deputy head Frans Timmermans to Merkel during the Berlin meeting, the daily Rzeczpospolita wrote of own findings.
Berlin has so far abstained from openly backing the EC in the conflict, and if that situation continues, Poland might escape further consequences connected with the Article 7 procedure as German restraint will likely halt the proceedings, the daily speculates.
Merkel will ultimately take the side of Brussels, Konrad Adenauer Foundation's Olaf Wientzek said in his comment for the daily.

June 26:
Polish government’s delegation headed by Konrad Szymański, vice minister of foreign affairs responsible for European affairs, presented its contested judiciary reform during an unprecedented hearing in Luxembourg. The European Commission still believes there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland as Poland failed to inform about any new steps aimed to address these concerns, EC first vice-president Frans Timmermans said after the hearing. Poland might not escape the Article 7 procedure after all as Timmermans is an ardent supporter of the proceedings in spite of EC lawyers' conflicting opinions on the issue, the daily Rzeczpospolita wrote citing an unofficial comment from a EC representative.

Source: Polish Press Agency (PAP)

European commission Vice President Frans Timmermans (L) chats with Konrad Szymański, the Polish European affairs minister (R) at the General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, 26 June 2018.
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