Marshal of the Senate, Tomasz Grodzki, in a television speech on the EU budget, called on the government to “respect the national interest and withdraw from the threat of veto, contrary to the Polish rationale”. He stressed that it was against Poland’s economic, political and strategic interests. He also called on the rulers to come to their senses and urged them to “return to the observance of the rule of law”.
We are at a turning point in our history. The Polish government wants to veto the new EU budget, and thus the fund for economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. The EU budget is our money – taxpayers from Poland and all over Europe. The government wants to veto them because it does not want to tie the budget to compliance with the law. We cannot understand why, or rather for what, the government today wants to give up the money that Poles are owed – said Grodzki.
He stressed that it is enough to be law-abiding: to observe the Constitution, the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and human dignity. This is understood by all European Union countries, except for two, which disregard the rule of law and democratic rules, and the fundamental values enshrined in EU documents seem to be alien to them. It’s very dangerous – stated.
The Speaker of the Senate emphasized that Poland, due to its position, cannot be neutral – and “is either in the family of Western civilization or among the authoritarian dictatorships of the East.” He stressed that Poles joined the EU of their own free will, making a decision on this matter in a referendum. The government has no mandate to get us out of the EU without asking the people’s opinion – added.
He recalled that the Senate had passed a resolution calling on the government to adopt the draft EU budget negotiated by that government. As senators of the brightest Republic of Poland, we expect respect for the national interest and withdraw from the threat of veto, contrary to the Polish reason. It is against Poland’s economic, political and strategic interests. Consecrating them on the altar of ad hoc games of the ruling coalition is contrary to the good of our country – Grodzki stated.
As he pointed out, the veto against the EU budget will prevent farmers, entrepreneurs, local governments, medics and all Poles from getting money from it. So far, we have received over 125 billion euros from the EU, which has allowed us to change the face of our country and quickly make up for lost years. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki rightly boasted that he participated in negotiating a budget that was very good for Poland. Logical in this situation is a simple appeal by the Senate: if you have negotiated a budget that is good for Poland, why do you want to veto it – he said, turning to the head of government.
Grodzki emphasized that in the history of Poland “the veto, liberum veto, played a shameful role and was one of the detonators of the progressive decay of the state, which ended with the partitions”. He said that, in turn, “the rejection of the Marshall Plan in 1947 by the communist veto slowed the reconstruction of Poland for many years and strengthened our subordination to the Soviets.” Were these lessons few? – asked the Speaker of the Senate. He pointed out that the veto to the EU budget could now deprive Poles who urgently need funds from the COVID-19 Reconstruction Fund.
The politician said that “if this is to be a brutal negotiating tactic between Poland and Hungary, you have to know that it will lead us nowhere”. According to him, this will happen “firstly because the real loss of these funds will be an irreparable loss”. Secondly, he pointed out, it would mean that the rest of Europe would also agree on our future without us.
I urge the rulers to come to their senses. It’s not too late. I assure you that the Senate will make every effort to ensure that the interests of Poland prevail, where the rule of law, the foundations of democracy, and the equality of citizens before the law are not questioned. Our deepest interest is a sovereign Poland, law-abiding in the center of a united Europe. Only such a Poland will be safe and prosperous for future generations. This is the only Poland the nation wants – said Grodzki.
I appeal to those in power: go back to respecting the rule of law, and the conflict with the European Union will resolve itself. But if you cause Poland to lose gigantic money for further development and reconstruction, if you also lead us out of the European home, history and people will not forgive you – said the Speaker of the Senate at the end of his speech.
EU member states did not reach unanimity on the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027 and the decision on the reconstruction fund. Poland and Hungary raised objections to the regulation linking access to EU funds with the rule of law. At a meeting of EU ambassadors, the regulation was adopted by a qualified majority of member states.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke by phone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After the conversation, in a Facebook post, he informed that the German chancellor had stated that Poland expected further work to find a solution that would guarantee the rights of all EU countries and confirmed its readiness to veto the new budget.
The current negotiations are being conducted by the German Presidency. Chancellor Merkel said on November 19 that talks with Hungary and Poland should be continued. “There is consensus on the EU budget, but not on the rule of law mechanism,” she stressed.
Morawiecki announced earlier that Poland would certainly exercise its right to object, if there was no agreement satisfying Warsaw on linking the rule of law to the EU budget. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addressed a letter to the German presidency and heads of EU institutions, in which he threatened to veto the EU budget and the reconstruction fund if the disbursement of funds was related to the rule of law.
On Thursday in Budapest, the prime ministers of Poland and Hungary signed a declaration on agreeing a critical stance on linking payments from the budget to “arbitrary and biased criteria for violations of the rule of law”.