President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has gone back on a deal struck between the Polish government and Brussels over the release of EU funds, and it is time for Poland to respond, the leader of the country’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, told Poland’s Sieci magazine.
Kaczyński believes that the Commission is not acting in good faith and has broken an agreement that had been reached with the Polish government over the release of funds.
The PiS leader insisted he does not regret the fact that a compromise was attempted, as it was important for Poland to try to obtain the funding, but he feels this has been made impossible by the Commission’s behavior.
Kaczyński told the magazine that he realizes there are those in Poland who want to benefit from a loss of sovereignty and freedom that would be caused by, for instance, the introduction of the single European currency. However, he hoped most people would see that it is not in the country’s interests to lose its sovereignty.
Asked what precisely Kaczyński intended to do, having said “enough is enough” regarding the European Commission’s behavior, the ruling party leader said that it meant Poland would take decisions in the interests of its citizens with regard to energy prices without any regard to EU approval. He added that this did not mean Poland would refuse to pay its dues into the EU’s budget, but it would pursue other actions which he refused to specify at this stage.
Kaczyński felt that it was more than likely that the European Commission would attempt to block funding from the EU’s budget on top of blocking funding from the recovery fund.
“I am convinced that in order to break Poland and make it fully subservient to Germany, they will also block those funds,” he told the publication.
As far as Polish relations with the EU are concerned, Kaczyński believes that “Poland now has nowhere to retreat to.”
“We have shown maximum good will and have been ready to compromise, but it seems that something else is afoot. If we win, we will have to rebuild our relations with the EU. We cannot accept that the EU does not honor treaties, agreements or even European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings,” he said.
He drew attention to the fact that the ECJ had accepted that all judges nominated by the president in Poland are legitimate, but Ursula von der Leyen now demands that judges should be able to question other judges’ legitimacy to adjudicate. This, he added, could not be accepted as it would create total chaos within the state.
Asked why he thought von der Leyen had changed her mind, Kaczyński said that she may have been under pressure of being recalled and that the Polish opposition were demanding more conditions to be set, but that does not excuse her breaking an agreement that had been reached.
At the beginning of June, the European Commission approved Poland’s operational program for the country’s allocation of the EU recovery fund. This meant that €24.9 billion in grants and €11.5 billion in loans could be activated. However, the Commission linked payments to Poland reaching milestones tied to, among others, judicial independence. One of these milestones is the law regarding the Supreme Court that dissolved the disciplinary chamber and replaced it with a chamber for professional accountability. However, parliament in the end rejected attempts to invalidate past verdicts reached by the disciplinary chamber before it was dissolved.