WARSAW May 31 Poland on Wednesday dismissed
warnings that accusations of its violation of EU standards on
the rule of law could cost it European Union money, and also
called the idea of accelerating euro zone integration
"Proposals to withhold structural funds for selected member
states are simply contradictory to EU treaties," Polish Prime
Minister Beata Szydlo said.
With the EU debating reform of the bloc after Britain leaves
it, Germany's government has set out proposals to freeze access
to EU funds for countries that fail to meet EU rule of law
standards, according to a document seen by Reuters.
The seven-page document aims to guide Berlin's approach to
upcoming Brussels negotiations on post-2020 changes to the
system by which the EU supports development in its poorer
This would hit countries such as Poland and Hungary, net
recipients of EU cohesion funding, which have clashed with
Brussels on legal issues.
Konrad Szymanski, Poland's deputy foreign minister in charge
of European affairs, said the proposals would be difficult to
execute as they would give the European Commission powers it
does not possess.
"It would mean that a mechanism aimed at de facto
restricting the membership of a state depends on the political
will of the European Commission, which is the (bloc's) executive
body," Szymanski told Polish state radio.
Poland is due to receive 86 billion euros ($96.53 billion)
in the 2014-20 budgetary period.
Linking funds to the rule of law could be potentially
difficult from a legal point of view as it would require
unanimity at some stages of the negotiations, including for the
final adoption by the European Council, of which both Poland and
Hungary are members
But there is a risk that funds for some countries could
still be decreased because net contributors to the budget, of
which Germany is the biggest, hold more power in negotiations.
Adam Glapinski, governor of the Polish central bank, said
that a more "sober" view on whether Britain's divorce from the
EU would pave the way to deeper integration was needed.
In comments published by the Financial Times, Glapinski said
that no state would be willing to give up decision-making power
over vital issues of taxation and spending.
"All the ideas ... about accelerating EU integration are no
more than a pipe dream," he said.
(Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Writing by Lidia
Kelly; Editing by Andrew Bolton)