Polish PM slams EU funding response to coronavirus
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Wednesday it is “false” to suggest the EU has allocated new funding to tackle the coronavirus crisis — arguing Brussels has so far failed to announce “any new measures.”
“It’s important to stress and to clear out this false information which appeared in the public sphere on the European funds,” Morawiecki told a press conference in Warsaw as he announced a national budget package worth €47 billion to tackle the coronavirus.
“I would be very happy, and all Polish people would be happy, if the EU would really spend new money on the coronavirus fight. The measures proposed aren’t new funds,” he said.
The European Commission last week put forward a plan for over €37 billion of investment to be hurried to EU countries, with Poland set to be the top beneficiary, receiving over €7 billion. The funds would go toward coronavirus-related health care expenditure like buying inhalators, masks and hospital equipment, as well as short-term employment schemes and support for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the crisis.
The plan is “money allocated to Poland in the 2014-2020 [EU budget] perspective,” Morawiecki said. “So the flexibility that the EU is proposing is certainly a good step, but so far the EU hasn’t taken any new measures. It’s evident that in this particular case the EU doesn’t act as fast as the nation states, doesn’t act as fast as Poland.”
“We have built today a huge anti-crisis shield to protect the society,” he added in reference to the national financing plan.
Polish media outlets have reported concerns that the European Union isn’t doing enough to stop coronavirus and to help EU countries.
Under the Commission’s proposal, money would be found within the existing EU budget by releasing €8 billion of unused cohesion money, which countries would normally have to return to Brussels.
This money would substitute for the usual national budget contribution toward EU programs, providing a pot of cash that governments can use to access another €29 billion they were due to receive at a later date.
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Poland would receive €1.125 billion out of the €8 billion of unused cohesion money, allowing Warsaw to access a further €6.31 billion from its future cohesion allocation.