The EP Vice-President’s statements undermine the EP, the German EU Presidency

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Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said Thursday that the statements made by Vice-President of the European Parliament (EP) Katerina Barley on the rule of law in Poland are undermining the seriousness of the EP and the German EU presidency.

In an interview published on Wednesday in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Barley said that the governments of the member states who deliberately violate EU principles, rather than the citizens of those countries, could face financial consequences. Last week she told the German radio station DeutschlandFunk that Poland and Hungary should be “financially starved” by the EU budget in terms of the rule of law.

Regarding her comments, Rau said that barley posed a “calculated rule of law bias” in both the EP and the media. According to the Secretary of State, Barley is building her own position in her political grouping. As a member of the SPD, she belongs to the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament.

Rau went on to say that Barley’s comments were inconsistent with the facts, forgetting that these were democratically elected governments with a social mandate to reform the judiciary. He also pointed out that there is no legal basis in the EU Treaties for such a move. He also stressed that Poland is one of the countries with the fewest errors in investing EU funds.

“I am convinced that Mrs Barley’s statements undermine not only the seriousness of the EP, but also the seriousness of the current German EU presidency because of their national origin,” said Rau.

At the end of September, the German EU presidency presented new proposals for a mechanism that makes the EU budget, including the € 750 billion restructuring fund, conditional. The point is to suspend funding for violating the rule of law. The proposal was accepted by a significant majority of Member State ambassadors with the opposition of seven countries, including Poland. The German Presidency has submitted a corresponding draft regulation to the European Parliament.

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