Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has called for Brussels to cancel or delay parts of its “Fit for 55” plan to tackle climate change. It comes as European gas prices are skyrocketing following a global shortage. Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin had struck a deal to see the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline transit gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.
But Mr Putin has reportedly tightened the supplies in the hope of avoiding EU rules from being applied to the system and to speed up the pipeline’s approval.
Some have accused Mr Putin of “weaponising” gas – and Mr Kaczynsk appears to agree.
He told Gazeta Polska weekly: “After the Russian action concerning gas, the creators and advocates of this ‘Fit for 55’ have, to put it delicately, made themselves look ridiculous.
“Energy prices have hit many EU countries with such force that their citizens will simply not agree to further increases in the name of some unproved theory.”
“Fit for 55” refers to the EU policy package to cut emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.
It is understood that Poland has sent a.letter to the European Commission arguing that an increase of gas deliveries to Europe with the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are “manipulative” and aimed at cementing Gazprom’s dominant position on the EU gas market.
The letter, seen by EURACTIV states: “The goal seems to be clear – to obtain a privileged position on the market for Gazprom and Nord Stream 2 by abuse of dominant position, undermining of the EU legal system.”
It adds that Moscow’s attempt to link the increase of European gas deliveries with the completion of Nord Stream 2 “can only be treated as a misleading and manipulative attempt and clearly show the instrumentalisation of gas supplies by Russia to achieve a political objective”.
Latest estimates say “around 40 percent” of the EU’s natural gas imports come from Russia.
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Brussels has still not approved Warsaw’s spending plans for COVID-19 recovery funds amid an escalating row over the rule of law in the EU’s largest eastern member.
Poland is a focus of European attention this week with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addressing the European Parliament and leaders at a European Union summit.
It comes after Poland’s constitutional court challenged the notion that EU law supersedes the laws of its 27 member nations with a ruling, saying that some EU laws are incompatible with the nation’s own constitution.
That decision – made by a court dominated by ruling party loyalists – gives the Polish government the justification it had sought to ignore directives from the European Union’s Court of Justice, which it doesn’t like – particularly on matters of judicial independence.