Friday

14th May 2021

EU is not a 'cash cow', commission tells Poland

  • Jyrki Katainen (c) at the 15th anniversary of the EU membership of 10 countries in Warsaw. (Photo: European Commission)

The European Union is not a cash cow to be milked by Poland, the vice-president of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen told reporters in Warsaw on Wednesday (1 May).

"The EU is not just a money machine, a cow that you can milk. We are expecting a more substantial contribution from Poland for the future of Europe," he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The criticism comes amid a wider dispute over Poland's backsliding on the rule of law after having adopted laws that erode judicial independence.

Poland joined the European Union 2004 and has since received over €100bn in EU funding, more than any other EU member state.

But its right-wing government led by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) maintains a shaky relation with the European Union.

The country risks losing its voting rights at the EU level under the so-called article 7 procedure, launched in 2017, over the rule of law issues.

The threat appears to have done little to dissuade Warsaw from changing paths despite popular protests against the laws.

"The current situation is not good because we have had Article 7 procedure in Poland but unfortunately nothing has happened," said Katainen.

Some EU states have since grown frustrated with Poland.

In March, Belgium and German proposed shoring up monitoring of domestic rule of laws with a peer review system to ensure they comply with democratic values.

Meanwhile, the commission is now demanding Poland contribute more towards the EU cohesion fund given UK's projected departure from the European Union.

It also wants Poland to join the euro. But PiS has refused, stating that the country first needs to be on par with Germany, the bloc's largest economy.

"Poland is a fiscally prudent country and it would benefit a lot from eurozone membership," said Katainen.

Katainen was in Poland to help mark its membership, along with nine other countries, of the European Union 15 years ago.

"The most important thing is that EU is based on common values. Rule of law, democracy and human rights," he said in a tweet, following the event.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

EU commission plans bolstering rule of law toolbox

As EU concerns over rule of law in some member states grow, the commission opens a debate on tools to discipline unruly member states. The EU executive has launched a new probe against Poland, and put Romania on the spot.

Opinion

What does Poland want from the EU?

We propose several changes to the EU, derived from the political philosophy behind the current Polish government, and what Poles expect from the EU - this could be seen as a manifesto Poland wants the next European Commission to tackle.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us