‘Polexit’ is fake news, says Spanish European affairs minister

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Juan Gonzalez-Barba, the Spanish minister for European affairs told Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily that he believes a compromise can be reached with Hungary and Poland, but asserts that linking of rule of law to funding will remain in what could remain a dealbreaker for the two countries.
“Polexit is a mirage, it’s fake news. Spain hopes that it will never happen because Poland for us is a key partner in the EU, and both our countries are united by friendship,” said Gonzalez-Barba.
When asked if an agreement on the EU budget would be reached, the Spanish politician replied that he was cautiously optimistic and added that “the formula of linking payments to compliance with the rule of law cannot be changed. Everyone is now focused on how to meet the expectations of Poland and Hungary in a different way, so that even if these countries are not satisfied with the aforementioned formula, they would not use their power of veto”.
Gonzalez-Barba said that if a formula could be found that would allow Poland and Hungary to abandon the veto without breaching the agreement, he was convinced that it would be approved by all EU leaders.
Despite Gonzalez-Barba’s claim that the rule-of-law mechanism cannot be dropped, there are indications that the rule-of-law mechanism is illegal and in violation of the EU’s founding treaties . Some Polish commentators have also called for Poland to at least begin preparing to leave the EU given the current political climate. Juan Gonzalez-Barba, Spanish European affairs minister The most likely way of reaching a compromise lies in adoption of a protocol of interpretation which would ease Polish and Hungarian fears. He stressed that the continuity of the Union is dependent of the constant search for a compromise which is currently in the process of being forged. He feels that “the most likely way of reaching a compromise lies in adoption of a protocol of interpretation which would ease Polish and Hungarian fears”.
The Spanish politician was asked whether the remaining 25 countries will conclude an intergovernmental agreement to create a reconstruction fund if a compromise cannot be found.
“I am convinced that this will not happen, although I am getting signals that the European Commission is considering such a possibility. The Union cannot be condemned to total paralysis, and that is what would happen without agreement on the budget,” he replied.
When asked whether Spain actually believes that Poland is a country without the rule of law, Gonzalez-Barba replied that such an assessment belongs to the European Commission. He also said that should Poland and Hungary take the issue of the rule of law conditionality mechanism to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Spain would oppose any action against them until the ECJ ruled on the matter.
Title image: Spain’s State Secretary for EU Affairs Juan Gonzalez-Barba, right, speaks with Italian Minister for European Affairs Vincenzo Amendola during a meeting of EU General Affairs ministers at the European Council building, 2019, AP Images.

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