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Tusk says PiS-led Poland only staying in EU for the money

AFP  |  Warsaw 

warned that Poland's right-wing could try to drive the country out of the if it stops being a net recipient of bloc funding, in an interview published today.

The former liberal Polish and arch-rival of the governing and Justice (PiS) party spoke at a time when is mired in conflict with the over various issues, including the controversial judicial reforms that led to launch unprecedented disciplinary proceedings against last month.

"For PiS the benefit of being in the boils down to the balance of payments, with a complete disregard for other benefits like the common market, legal order, guaranteed security, etc," Tusk told weekly.

"As long as we're not a net contributor, the game is worth the candle for them. So I can easily imagine a situation where if one day finds itself among the (net) contributors, the Polish will decide that it's time to ask Poles if they still want in the EU and then will work hard so that they come to the conclusion that it's necessary to say goodbye to membership."

This week the country's new Mateusz Morawiecki sacked his defence and foreign ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle and met with as part of the governing party's quest to mend the strained ties.

Tusk said it was "a sad day for all" last month when triggered article seven of the EU treaty over what it sees as "systemic threats" to the independence of the Polish judiciary from the nation's right-wing

Never before used against an EU member state, the proceedings can eventually lead to the "nuclear option" of the suspension of a country's voting rights within the bloc.

But Tusk said "the PiS can still end this crisis by abandoning the changes to the judiciary."

The began making the changes after coming to power in late 2015 and says the reforms are needed to combat corruption and overhaul the judicial system still haunted by the communist era.

has repeatedly warned that it views the changes as a threat to the democratic principles and rule of Poland signed up to when it joined the EU.

"In Brussels there's still a huge surplus of hope -- I'm not saying trust, that unfortunately vanished already -- that Poland will nevertheless remain in the EU," Tusk said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 19:32 IST