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Poland's PM calls for EU equality reform

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-11 09:19

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. [Photo/Agencies]

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has criticized the political practices of the European Union, accusing it of demonstrating imperialistic behavior toward smaller member states.

In an opinion piece published by Germany's Welt news website on Wednesday, Morawiecki called for a more consensus-based approach.

"Political practice has shown that the positions of Germany and France count more than all the others," said Morawiecki.

"So we are dealing with a formal democracy and a de facto oligarchy in which the strongest hold power," he added.

He called for "profound reform that puts the common good and equality back at the forefront of the union's principles".

Poland has clashed repeatedly with Brussels for years over judicial reforms pushed through by Morawiecki's nationalist Law and Justice, or PiS, government.

Brussels believes the reforms impede democratic freedom but Poland says they are needed to root out corruption among judges.

In June, the EU approved COVID-19 pandemic recovery grants and loans for Poland, but European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen later said the country's latest judicial reforms were not satisfactory, and more than 35 billion euros ($36 billion) of funds are now on hold, due to the dispute.

Last month, Von der Leyen said Poland must "honor the commitments it made to reform the system of disciplinary measures".

The country is still facing fines of 1 million euros a day for ignoring rulings on the judicial system from the Court of Justice of the EU, and government finances are under growing strain, reported the Politico news website, noting that inflation in Poland was 15.5 percent last month, one of the highest rates in the EU.

With parliamentary elections looming next year, ruling party politicians in Poland this week warned of repercussions if the country does not get its share of the pandemic recovery funds, reported the Reuters news agency.

The country's Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy has said it plans to make Poland's first application for payment of the funds in the fourth quarter of this year.

"If there is an attempt to block the payment ... and the European Commission tries to pressure us, then we have no choice but to pull out all the cannons in our arsenal and respond with barrage fire," Krzysztof Sobolewski, PiS secretary general, told Polish public radio.

Cabinet Minister Michal Wojcik, a member of the conservative United Poland party, a junior partner in government, signaled that if payments are not made, Poland could veto some EU decisions, reported Reuters.

Jacek Kucharczyk, head of the Institute for Public Aff airs, a Warsaw think tank, told Politico that Warsaw is playing a waiting game with the EU, hoping that it "gets exhausted and throws in the towel by accepting the reforms and releasing the cash".

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