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POLAND: EU Cohesion Funds

The European Commission presented detailed plans on cuts in cohesion funds within the 2021-2027 budget proposal. Hungary and Poland will be hit the most, losing 24% and 23% of this type of funding accordingly. Such significant funding cuts, in Member States which have been most at odds with Brussels in the past years, are sure to increase political tensions. The Commission argues that it is shifting its focus from the East to the South, due to changing financial and development conditions. Experts note, however, that migrant and refugee inflows have also been taken into account by the Commission. Indeed, states like Italy, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria will actually see increases in funding. The Polish government’s spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska argued yesterday that the planned fund division is unacceptable to the region. With Warsaw to receive approximately 20 billion euro less for job creation, business competitiveness initiatives or infrastructural projects, the Polish government will seek to create a regional coalition to fight the proposal. For the ruling PiS party, this funding cut presents a tangible image problem. The opposition PO has been long-arguing that PiS’ relationship with Brussels will damage the country. Now, the opposition will argue throughout the upcoming election campaigns that PiS has costed Poles 20 billion euro.