Polish PM, European Council president-elect, discuss budget, climate

2019-11-26 19:06 update: 2019-12-03, 14:57
Photo  PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
European Council President-elect Charles Michel came to Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss with Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki a range of issues, including the next EU budget and climate policy, before he assumes office on December 1.

Michel will replace Donald Tusk, a former Polish PM who is concluding his second term of office as European Council president. Tusk has recently been elected chairman of the centre-right European People's Party, the biggest European Parliament group.

Morawiecki described the visit as a good signal indicating that they would "try to gain as much mutual information as possible in order to work out a compromise." The prime minister also stated that negotiations are approaching in very important fields, and that in relation to these "difficult talks" there was nothing better than building trust. "A certain type of new opening, new approaches in new times, such as Charles Michel represents," Morawiecki said.

During the Tuesday talks, the future EU budget for 2020-27 was discussed, among other issues. Morawiecki noted that the issue of potential new EU incomes was talked about in detail, which he said Poland would support as much as possible. The talks also touched on "trade threats for the whole world related to trade wars, to protectionism," the PM said, as well as "how to maintain the competitiveness of the common market."

"It is important to both of us that the EU is a global power, not only economically but also politically, in relation to which the discussion on economic and political subjects and our neighbours - near and far - is something as normal as possible," the prime minister said. In this context, he added that Michel had proposed that strategic issued be discussed during EU Council sittings.

Morawiecki also reported he and Michel had discussed climate policy. The Polish PM said that for his government it was important to ensure energy security and competitiveness of European industry. "These goals are not always convergent and easy to reconcile," the prime minister said, calling for compromise in how the objectives should be achieved.

Poland heavily relies on fossil fuels in its power generation and will require huge investment to switch to renewable energy as the EU's emission targets have become increasingly ambitious.

Other issues discussed included innovation, defence, relations with China and Russia and the competitiveness of the single market, according to the Polish head of government.

Michel praised his to-date relations with Morawiecki, with whom he had often met in the EU when he was Belgian prime minister.

Michel reported he and Morawiecki had discussed the implementation of the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2042, cooperation with the EU's executive body, the European Commission, the digital agenda and the climate policy.

The European Council president-elect warned the 2021-2027 budget negotiations were not going to be easy, calling for reducing member states' ambitions in order to strike a balance.

He echoed Morawiecki's view that the EU should play a bigger role on the international arena, expressing a conviction that Poland will play an important role in the process. He also called Poland "a very important country for the future of Europe."

After the press statements, Morawiecki and Michel lit candles at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and laid flowers at the Warsaw Uprising Monument.

The upcoming EU summit on December 12-13 will be the first to be presided over by Michel. It is expected to focus on the EU budget and climate policy. (PAP)