Political deal allows Poland to switch to EU stimulus fund – POLITICO
WARSAW – The ruling nationalist coalition in Poland, led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS), on Tuesday struck a surprise deal with the left-wing opposition party, allowing the ratification of the 750 billion pandemic stimulus fund. euros from the EU.
“Let us put political conflicts aside,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said after the announcement of the agreement. “Let us forgive those who have tried to carry out [political] calculations, “he added during a search among other opposition parties.” We cannot undertake strategies that harm Poland, not accept funds from the stimulus fund.
The fund must be approved by all 27 member countries, but it stalled in Poland after a smaller right-wing coalition member backed down from the measure.
That party, right-wing United Poland, has refused to increase EU borrowing levels and is upset that EU countries should jointly repay the stimulus fund. The party is also wary of requiring recipient countries to follow EU rule of law principles to get money.
The coalition government only has a three-seat majority in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, and therefore had to seek the votes it needed from the opposition parties.
This left the opposition with the dilemma of whether to support a government it does not trust and accuses it of corruption and violation of the Polish constitution, or reject a spending bill. which would block a crucial stimulus package for Poland and the rest of the bloc. Poland is expected to receive more than 58 billion euros in grants and loans.
The stalemate was broken by the left, with 47 MPs, which struck a deal to back the bailout fund in exchange for a series of government spending pledges.
“One of the conditions of [our] government support consists of building 75,000 apartments for rent. We have also negotiated 850 million euros to support local hospitals [and that] Local governments would decide how to spend 30% of the recovery fund money, ”one of the leaders of the left, MEP Robert Biedroń, told reporters.
Biedroń also said € 300 million would go to support Polish restaurateurs and hoteliers who have been hit hard by intermittent lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The left also said it agreed with the PiS that the disbursement of recovery funds would be overseen by a “monitoring committee” made up of government officials, trade unionists, representatives of businesses, local governments and NGOs.
“We are happy that there is a group in parliament that is serious about the biggest problem Poland is currently facing,” PiS Parliament Speaker Ryszard Terlecki told the Polish News Agency.
The EU’s stimulus package must now be supported by the Polish parliament.
The Liberal opposition is furious about the deal; There was increasing talk of snap elections to break the deadlock in the ruling coalition, and polls show the PiS would struggle to hang on to power.
“We were supposed to overthrow this government and the left is rather giving it a lifeline,” Katarzyna Lubnauer, MP and deputy head of the Civic Coalition, told the news agency.
The party plans to vote against the deal.