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Poland Opposes EU Budget Distribution Plan Based on Adherence to Rule of Law

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Poland will not agree to the distribution of funds from the EU budget in accordance with the EU members’ commitment to the rule of law, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said Wednesday.

Earlier this week, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova said that the European Union was developing a system that would link the receipt of EU funds by a member state with the independence of the nation’s judicial system.

“Annually Poland pays to the EU budget up to 20 billion zlotys [some $5.97 billion] and has the right to use all its tools, just like all other [members of the bloc],” Szymanski told the PAP news agency.

The Polish politician said that it would be very difficult to formulate objective standards that could be used while implementing the plan.

The diplomat said that the decision would be “illegal on the ground of the European treaties.”

In recent months, Warsaw and Brussels have been engaged in several disputes, including the one over a controversial reform of the Polish judiciary system.

Soon after the publication of the new legislation, the European Commission started an infringement procedure against Poland as the law on ordinary courts violated EU legislation regarding judicial independence as well as gender equality, due to different retirement ages for men and women. In December 2017, the European Commission said that it was planning to propose to the Council of the European Union to trigger Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, against Poland, saying its judicial reforms threaten democratic norms. As a result, Poland’s voting rights in the European Union may be suspended.