Polish Vote on EU Fund Faces Delay as Coalition Bickers

A Polish dispute over the European Union’s 750 billion euro ($892 billion) pandemic stimulus escalated after the government unexpectedly canceled plans to discuss its ratification amid a split in the ruling coalition.

Deputy Speaker Ryszard Terlecki said on Tuesday that parliament may have to gather for an extra sitting later in April to meet the deadline to ratify the program.

With Poland in line to gain 58 billion euros from the stimulus deal, the divisions in the coalition are turning into a major challenge for Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. He warned last week that his the three-party alliance is at risk of collapse unless the plan is approved.

The junior faction of Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has vowed to oppose the bill, arguing it might put Poland on the hook for the debts of other states.

State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin acknowledged on Tuesday that some “controversies” about the stimulus exist within the ruling coalition, adding he’s convinced there will be a majority in parliament to back the plan.

“We’ll continue trying to convince our coalition partner, because we don’t want to rely on the sense of the responsibility from the opposition,” he told public television. “We can’t count on that.”

The main opposition party wants clear assurances that the money will be spent fairly and target investments overseen by local governments as conditions for its support.

Poland won’t be able to tap 770 billion zloty of funds earmarked in the EU’s next multi-year budget unless the so-called own resources bill is approved by the parliament, government spokesman Piotr Muller said.

The government plans to give its nod “soon” and send it for a vote in the near future, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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