Should the EU funds be conditioned upon the rule of law? How do the EU funds and the Cohesion Policy affect the economy of one of the largest member states? Does the Cohesion Policy increase inflation?
These questions were answered during a meeting with students at King’s College London by Paweł Chorąży, Managing Director at the European Programs Department at Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) and former Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Investments and Economic Development.
The meeting, “European Finances: EU Funds’ role in the Modernisation of Poland”, was organised by the King’s College London European Society and took place on 17 November on a digital platform. Students of one of the most prestigious British universities could hear about the history of the Polish economy, the role of the European Union in Poland’s economic success after 1989 and the work of BGK, which manages the EU funds. The meeting was attended by students from France, Austria, Belgium and Denmark, as well as Poland and Ukraine.
The meeting began with a presentation, which in detail presented the European Cohesion Policy. The participants were also familiarised with the history of Polish political and economic reforms and the problems faced by Poland after 1989. These primarily were low qualifications of the civil service and the legacy of the command economy, which translated into a lack of preparedness for the neo-liberal reforms in the 1990s. Joining the European Union and receiving the Cohesion Policy funds stabilised the economy, thanks to which Poland, inter alia, largely bypassed the financial crisis of 2008. It also had some unforeseen effects, such as the strengthening of regional governments vis-a-vis Warsaw.
Topics such as the impact of EU funds on inflation or the future of the Cohesion Policy in the EU were also discussed during the meeting.
Questions on the recent veto of the EU budget by Poland were asked. Paweł Chorąży emphasised that the EU funds should not be conditioned politically. Instead, the EU should control whether the money is spent effectively. He also expressed hope that the member states and Brussels will soon come to a consensus.
Author: Janina Szwedo
Presentation: Paweł Chorąży
Pictures: Janina Szwedo, Julia Marszałkowska, PixabayBusiness