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An appeal by the former presidents of the Republic of Poland regarding the government’s announcement of its intention to veto the forthcoming EU budget.

We, the former presidents of the Republic of Poland, who spared no effort in our work towards a Poland that is a free, democratic, safe, fast-growing, respected, and influential member of the European family of nations, hereby express our concern and issue a warning!

We direct these words to all Polish citizens, to all those who put the future of our common good above narrow party interest and ideological rows. A member state vetoing the budget is not something unprecedented in the history of the European Union.

If the European budget was unfavorable or unfair to Poland, the decision of the Polish government to veto it would be understandable and likely to find our support. But this is not the case!

Mateusz Morawiecki's government negotiated the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, and it was adopted with his support at a Brussels summit in July of this year. It is a good budget for Poland and Polish citizens. We were and will remain the largest beneficiary of EU funds. Between 2007-2013, Poland received 67 billion euros; in 2014-2020, it was 82.5 billion euros; the prospective financial benefits for years 2021-2027 include over 139 billion euros in grants and 34 billion euros in loans.

Poles need these budget funds immediately to effectively combat the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, to secure jobs, and support Polish businesses. That is why we must strongly emphasize one thing: the European budget, which the entire Europe is waiting for, must not become hostage to partisan politics or even internal power struggles within the ruling right-wing coalition.

A ticket to a death match between Mateusz Morawiecki, Zbigniew Ziobro, and Jarosław Kaczyński is not worth billions of euros! Opposition to the rule of law principle, equally applicable to all European Union member countries, cannot be used to justify a veto threat.

There is no such thing as a uniquely Polish version of the rule of law, different from the European one, which the Polish government demands respect for. Just as there are no two different types of dignity – a Polish and European one - or two different types of freedom, one close to us and one which is foreign, there are no two different types of the rule of law and the criteria for its observance.

Respecting the rule of law means respecting our Constitution and accepting the European law as our common, written set of fundamental values. These fundamental principles constitute a safeguard to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected against the arbitrary interest of one or another political formation. Therefore, this veto threat, and the philosophy of putting political impunity above the Polish raison d'etat, cannot be reconciled with Poland’s membership in the European Union.

The announcement of a veto motivated by such thinking goes against the decision that 13.5 million Poles made in a national referendum in June 2003. Their will expressed at that time is still valid today!

There is no consent, neither political nor social, for Poland’s anti-European drift, and no political party holds a mandate to pursue such an agenda. Therefore, we urge the president of the Republic of Poland, the Prime Minister, and the Polish government to stop blackmailing other EU member states with a threat of putting a veto on a budget that has already been adopted and declared the government’s great success.

Such actions are detrimental to Poland’s national interest and its place in a united Europe.

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