Friday

22nd Nov 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join 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. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us