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Michal Kurtyka: “A compromise will have to be found on the budget during the next Council”

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The Hungarian and Polish prime ministers once again displayed their unity against Brussels, Thursday in Budapest, as part of the discussions on the rule of law, reaffirming their veto on the recovery plan. In the midst of a European battle also on the climate objectives relaunched by the Green Pact, we welcome Michal Kurtyka, Polish Minister in charge of Climate and Environment, in the conservative government of Law and Justice and candidate for the post of Secretary General of the OECD.

Asked about the veto of Poland and Hungary on the allocation of funds conditional on respect for the rule of law, Michal Kurtyka points out that “the budgetary debate is a very particular debate within the European Union” , which requires the consensus and unanimity of the heads of state and concedes that it has had “ups and downs in this discussion”.

But the Polish minister hopes that a “compromise will be reached for the benefit of all”: “We need this consensual decision within the European Union, we need a budget, everyone recognizes it, and c It is in the hands of the heads of state that this decision will be finally validated and accepted ”.

Michal Kurtyka regrets, moreover, that the “very hard and very complicated” debates at the European Summit in July 2020 ended with the decision to cut in half the transition fund when “this budget is absolutely central to the recovery and for the climate transition for the countries of Central Europe ”.

“Poland and the Poles are extremely pro-European”

After the vote of the Polish Senate, where the opposition has a slight majority, on a resolution urging the government to accept the recovery plan conditioned on the rule of law, the minister underlines that there is a “democratic debate quite natural fact in Poland and in all the other European countries on how we want to build the budget and how we also want to change in our respective countries ”, and he specifies again that the final decision rests with the heads of state who will meet at the top on December 10 and 11.

He also assures us that “Poland and the Poles are extremely pro-European” and that they want “to find an agreement, and that this agreement works in favor of climate and energy transition, but (that it) is also a way to bounce back from the Covid crisis ”for all of Europe.

The “societal debate” of abortion in Poland

The Polish abortion debate is, according to him, “a societal debate, which engages a lot of emotion on both sides” and he underlines “that there is also a lot of good will to find a compromise and that proposals are made. to find a way that can maintain this societal consensus around eminently complicated and delicate issues like these. ”

Climate and energy transition

Candidate to succeed Angel Gurria for the post of Secretary-General of the OECD, Michal Kurtyka points out that his skills in climate matters are essential “because the OECD is a club of 37 countries of the world which brings together countries which, all , declared climate neutrality or the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement as absolutely essential for their economy and for their society ”. And he adds: “The OECD needs a new boost in climate policy”.

With Poland so far considered to be Europe’s poor student in terms of climate transition, the Polish minister noted that “the equation is particularly complicated given the starting point” of his country, where “75% of energy comes from fossil sources ”and where households spend“ 10% of their income on energy compared to 5% in Germany or France ”, which constitutes“ an objective difficulty in pursuing objectives which were previously not possible socially.”

Michal Kurtyka also highlights the policies he has put in place as the very first Polish Minister for Climate and Energy, including a “partnership of 8 countries around the Baltic Sea to exploit enormous potential in terms of ‘wind power”. He assures us that “in the space of 20 years we want to build a new system which will be zero emissions” and of which one of the pillars will be nuclear. The Minister wishes, however, to recall that Poland is starting from much further than the 26 other European countries in terms of climate and energy transition.

A second wave of Covid “much more dispersed”

As for the Covid crisis, he assures us that the health situation is improving in Poland, going from “25,000 new cases a day two or three weeks ago to 16,000 or 17,000 cases now”.

Michal Kurtyka acknowledges, however, that “this second wave is much more dispersed and much more complicated to control than the first wave of spring, and we must all stand in solidarity until the time the vaccines are available.”

Program prepared by Céline Schmitt, Isabelle Romero and Mathilde Bénézet.

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