Poland is willing to be accommodating to the European Commission over the rule-of-law dispute but it cannot cross the red line that is drawn by the Polish constitution, said Jarosław Kaczyńsk, the leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS).
“If we were certain that the money from the EU Recovery Fund and from the EU budget would be transferred to us, we could envisage taking certain actions, but we are limited by our constitution which we cannot violate,” said Kaczyński in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Kaczyński admitted that “this money would be useful for Poland” but he added that Poland is developing rapidly only in a small part thanks to EU funds. The EU has threatened to withhold all funding, amounting to €110 billion, but such a threat is unlikely to materialize.
The leader of PiS argued that the main problem in his government’s talks in Brussels was the credibility of the European Commission’s stance. He said it was questionable whether the commission really wanted a settlement or whether they were hell-bent on helping the pro-German opposition liberals in Poland win next year’s national election.
Kaczyński accused the commission of making impossible demands.
“The European Commission is expecting us to violate our own constitution. This shows what they really think about the rule of law, sovereignty and EU treaties,” said Kaczyński.
He was referring to the fact the commission is demanding that the legitimacy of judges could be questioned by other judges, a practice which is not foreseen in the Polish constitution and which contradicts the EU treaties which give member states the exclusive right to organize their judicial systems.
The PiS leader reminded that the commission has accepted Poland’s operational program for the use of EU recovery funds. This meant that the money should be paid and yet the commission was refusing to transfer the funds. He believes that such unequal and unfair treatment could lead to a “serious crisis, even tragedy.”
Kaczyński however welcomed the German offer to support Poland’s defenses with the Patriot air defense system and Eurofighter planes. However, he felt that it would be best if this equipment was offered to Ukraine given the current circumstances.
In his view, if Ukrainians had better air defenses, that would protect Polish territory from stray missiles anyway.