Poland and Hungary vow to retain veto from EU budget
Sebastian Kaleta, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, said Boris Johnson’s tough stance should serve as an example to every leader in the EU27. Together with Hungary, Poland’s relationship with the EU has been tense ever since Brussels began Article 7 proceedings aimed at preventing the two countries from introducing controversial legal reforms.
Most recently, both Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban threatened to veto the EU’s £1.6trillion budget in protest at attempts to link payouts from the EU’s coronavirus rescue funds to adherence to the bloc’s principles with respect to judicial independence.
Sebastian Kaleta, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice and a member of the right-wing Solidarna Polska (United Poland) party, told Express.co.uk: “Poland and Hungary have strong conservative governments. Therefore, it is no coincidence that it is precisely our countries that have been in the crosshairs of the European Commission, who pursues a left-liberal agenda.
“This is happening with simultaneous violation of the principle of equality among member states, while double standards are being applied.
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
Boris Johnson won praise from Mr Kaleta
“Poland is being attacked for our attempt to reform the outdated justice system – that has remained unreformed despite regime change – and accused of allegedly politicising it.”
On closer inspection, it turned out that Poland was acting in a very similar way to, for example, Spain, when it came to its legal system, Mr Kaleta claimed, suggesting his country was therefore being singled out unfairly.
He added: “These are lies, aimed at weakening Poland both externally and internally, causing support for the current ruling party to erode. Nonetheless, we remain consistent in defending our interests.
“We will not allow anyone to try to persuade us that regulations which successfully work in other countries are a violation of the rule of law when it comes to Poland, while elsewhere such violations do not seem to be identified.”
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Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Poland
The tough stance of Prime Minister Johnson should serve as an example for every politician who is not willing to be intimidated by Brussels
Turning his attention to the UK’s messy divorce, which was finalised at the end of 2020, Mr Kaleta said: “EU leaders at first seemed to be offended by the democratic decision of the British – there was a fear-mongering campaign going on during the difficult process of Brexit negotiations.
“The tough stance of Prime Minister Johnson should serve as an example for every politician who is not willing to be intimidated by Brussels.”
He added: “Obviously, we all in Poland follow the post-Brexit situation in the UK closely. The Polish society is in favour of us staying in the European Union – however, increasingly often we see inequalities in treatment.
“This concerns the rule of law, violations of the freedom of movement, and introduction of economic protectionism in areas where Polish entrepreneurs have started to outperform French or German ones.
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Mateusz Morawiecki is a member of the Law and Justice party
Zbigniew Ziobro, the leader of the United Poland party
“We see double standards and we vocally oppose.”
Ursula von der Leyen and her colleagues in the Commission should not, therefore, take Poland for granted, Mr Kaleta warned.
He explained: “If Berlin and Brussels do not curb their desire to create a European state where Germany plays the leading and dominant role, and if Brexit brings benefits to the British, surely lively debates will start in many EU member states.
“Today we are focusing on concrete cases where the treaties are being violated and we are fighting to maintain our sovereignty in areas in which we as Poles have not granted authority to the European Union.”
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Referring to the much-criticised bloc-wide strategy for the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, he added: “The joint procurement strategy has again shown the selective nature of solidarity within the EU.
“When the European Commission prohibited unilateral negotiations for its member states, Germany simply ordered additional batches of the vaccine with no repercussions whatsoever.
“This reveals a clear picture of deepening dominance of Berlin over other states, which leads to a great threat to EU’s internal stability.
“Double standards and requirements in the EU have become a nightmare and a source of serious problems.
Poland has been sharply critical of Angela Merkel’s Germany
Mr Kaleta was speaking as his party leader Zbigniew Ziobro and the country’s Minister of Justice, proposed the introduction of new laws aimed at protecting freedom of speech.
Mr Kaleta added: “For a long while now we have seen in Poland alarming moves made by social media moderators, namely they have been deleting polemic content, such as Christian or conservative perspective on ongoing debates, even though the content itself is legal in Poland.
“The Minister of Justice, concerned about these cases of censorship has tasked me with drafting regulations that would allow us to protect freedom of speech online.
“The aim of this law is to make sure that social media monopolists cannot interfere with public debates that take place in Poland and that are legal.”