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POLAND: Morawiecki-Juncker meeting
After the triggering of the EU Article 7 infringement procedure, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker invited PM Morawiecki to a bilateral meeting in Brussels. The meeting took place last night, directly after the government reshuffle ceremonies. The meeting was the first opportunity for PM Morawiecki to begin mending relations directly with EU officials. The meeting reportedly ended somewhat positively. PM Morawiecki announced that after presenting the government’s position on the judiciary reform, further discussion focused on issues such as Brexit, energy, financial matters and Poland’s efforts in digital policy.
Coupling this meeting with the government reshuffle was not a coincidence. Many experts believed that PM Morawiecki chose to let go ministers who were in direct conflict with the EU. Hence, the replacement of Minister of Environment Jan Szyszko and Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Furthermore, several new Ministers are considered EU savvy or they have an expert, rather than a political background.
Undoubtedly, yesterday’s meeting is only the beginning of a long process of repairing Warsaw’s relations with the EU, but reports from this meeting suggest that the EU is willing to give PM Morawiecki a chance, and despite potential differences in terms of judiciary, the EU will not stop cooperating with Poland on other pressing matters. Ahead of the meeting Juncker stated that he rejects the idea of cutting EU funds for Poland. Still, Morawiecki still has to win over member states. This diplomatic offensive will continue next week, when Foreign Minister Czaputowicz visits Bulgaria and Germany as his first destinations.