EU at crossroads: Poland 'problematic member' in bloc's fight for future

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EU at crossroads: Poland 'problematic member' in bloc's fight for future

At the end of July, EU leaders finally struck a deal on a huge coronavirus recovery package after a fourth night of sometimes bitter talks. The €75

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At the end of July, EU leaders finally struck a deal on a huge coronavirus recovery package after a fourth night of sometimes bitter talks. The €750billion (£677billion) coronavirus fund will be used as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus. The remaining money represents the EU budget for the next seven years.

The talks began with a divide emerging between the hardest hit nations and those intent on a more “frugal” package of measures.

Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria all pushed back on an initial package of grants worth €500bn (£450bn), reportedly causing French President Emmanuel Macron to bang his fists in anger.

As many wonder whether the measures will ultimately deepen the bloc’s economic integration or cause its demise, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, former Labour MP and prominent Brexiteer Gisela Stuart claimed the package was necessary for the future of the bloc.

However, she noted Poland could come in the way of Brussels’ integration plan.

Ms Stuart, who has recently been awarded a peerage, said: “I have always thought two things ought to happen if the EU wants to survive.

“Europe has to come up with a model of two kinds of memberships: one for euro members and one for non-euro members.

“The euro countries have to deeply integrate, the other ones don’t.

“Now, with the Recovery Fund, the EU is slowly edging to create debt.

“And I think it is, in the long term, a necessary step if the EU wants to become a true federal state.

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Mr Duda is a social conservative allied with the government led by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has repeatedly clashed with the bloc.

Under PiS, Poland has played a purely negative role in Brussels, obstructing the EU’s attempts to reform migrant policy and become carbon neutral.

Moreover, PiS talks about Brussels as a new imperial occupation force and has been in a long-running dispute with the bloc over judicial reforms, which critics say limit the independence of the courts.

In December 2019, Poland’s Supreme Court even warned that government plans to overhaul the justice system could eventually force the country to leave the EU.

In the end, the radical judicial reforms never saw the light of day but Mr Duda’s re-election may permit him to make use of veto powers.



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