Sunday

19th Feb 2017

End in sight for EU-Poland dispute, says deputy PM

  • Morawiecki said investors don't even ask him about the EU's rule of law complaints (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Poland’s deputy PM has dismissed EU complaints over the rule of law as he prepares to go to the UK to try to poach City of London business.

Mateusz Morawiecki told the TVN24 national broadcaster on Tuesday (30 August) that a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over Poland’s constitutional court would be solved when the top judge steps down.

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"I think that within several months, when the head of the constitutional tribunal leaves, this problem will disappear completely," he said, referring to Andrzej Rzeplinski, the tribunal’s president.

"Today [foreign investors] do not ask about this, they understand that this is an element of a political game, a paper chase, and they see the end of the escalation on the horizon.”

Rzeplinski has been a fierce critic of the Polish ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), over its attempt to install loyalists in the court and weaken its ability to vet new laws.

In late July, the EU Commission gave PiS a list of recommendations to implement within three months or face potential sanctions.

Ratings agencies including Moody’s have threatened to downgrade Poland.

But the government shows no sign of complying with the EU's demands.

“One can see, already today, that people are tired of this [judicial dispute] … this problem has decidedly less meaning [now] than three or six months ago,” Morawiecki said.

The deputy leader spoke ahead of a trip to London, where he will try to persuade financial firms to relocate offices to Warsaw.

“If Great Britain leaves the EU, and it will, because that’s what the British nation decided, then we will be in a very attractive position because we will give access on identical terms [as pre-Brexit UK] to the whole EU market,” he said.

With other financial centres, including Dublin, Frankfurt, and Paris, also keen to poach the City of London's business, he said that since Poland was not a member of the euro it would be “difficult” to attract top banks and trading firms.

But he said Poland would aim for risk-management companies as well as financial IT and data firms instead.

He said Moody’s had a “sovereign” choice to make on Poland’s grade, but he urged investors to consider Poland’s economic stability and highly skilled workforce in their decisions.

Poland has a “fantastic pool of skilled labour”, he said.

“I hope that the analysts will consider our stable financial standing and the improving quality of Poland’s growth,” he noted.

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