Saturday , December 4 2021

Poland threatens to block EUclimate talks over funds


Poland threatened to stonewall talks on the European Union’s climate pact unless it receives access to the bloc’s recovery package, raising the stakes of a meeting of the bloc’s leaders on Thursday.
Coal-dependent Poland seeks to gain some leverage over the EU by linking further talks on cutting greenhouse gas emissions to tapping billions of euros in pandemic recovery funds, which are held up over rule-of-law concerns.
The escalation comes amid an increasingly tense standoff over the Polish government’s unprecedented defiance of the bloc’s legal order, which is destabilizing a key EU pillar. The issue of rule of law will be added to the agenda of a two-day gathering of EU leaders starting on Thursday, according to an official familiar with the decision, who asked not to be identified because it’s private.
“The sequence must be clear: first the reconstruction fund, then the discussion on the climate package,” Waldemar Buda, a deputy minister of funds and regional development, said on Wednesday. There are “several reasons” for Poland to block the EU climate pact in its current form, he told Polsat.
Poland is the bloc’s most coal-reliant nation, generating more than 70% of its electricity from the dirty fossil fuel. It has previously balked at fulfilling the EU’s ambitious agenda to cut greenhouse gases, saying it needs more time and money than other nations to transform its industry.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the EU was using “financial blackmail” in delaying 36 billion euros ($42 billion) in stimulus funds. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Poland’s actions raise questions regarding the very foundations of the 27-nation union.
In his speech to EU lawmakers, Morawiecki warned that Poland wants its sovereignty respected and that financial coercion would backfire and undermine the entire EU.

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