Brussels Playbook: Poland showdown — O’Reilly vs. the revolving doors — Fiscal rules – POLITICO


SHOWDOWN IN STRASBOURG: All eyes can be on the European Parliament this morning as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen deal with the plenary about the rule of legislation struggle. In a style of issues to come back, Morawiecki on Monday warned his fellow EU leaders of a “dangerous” EU effort to regulate members.

POLISH OFFENSIVE: To persuade the Commission to carry again, Poland’s de-facto ruler Jarosław Kaczyński has a proposal: Warsaw is able to dismantle its controversial disciplinary physique in the Polish Supreme Court. Of course, that wouldn’t resolve the conflict over the supremacy of EU legislation — which Warsaw rejected earlier this month.

Ramping up the stress: At the identical time, Kaczyński has a warning: “We’re not giving in to any blackmail,” he mentioned in an interview with the pro-government Sieci portal on Monday. Instead, Poland is blackmailing its EU counterparts — diplomats mentioned Warsaw has warned it will wreak havoc on key EU initiatives resembling the Green Deal if the Commission performs hardball.

Warsaw has some highly effective allies on this challenge: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have each pushed Council President Charles Michel to maintain Poland and the rule of legislation off the agenda for the EU leaders’ summit on Thursday and Friday. Merkel warned the EU publicly to “discover compromises.”

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Macron has been extra discreet, but it surely’s not gone unnoticed that final week, French state-owned EDF supplied to construct nuclear reactors in Poland, whereas Poland joined France and eight different international locations in calling on the Commission to rely nuclear as a inexperienced vitality in the EU taxonomy.

But again to Merkel. The motives behind her intervention triggered a lot head-scratching in Brussels, significantly after the criticism she has attracted over her appeasement of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Some diplomats mentioned that as the German chief, Merkel feels a particular accountability to hunt dialogue with Poland; others speculated she wanted to appease Warsaw after pushing by means of the Nord Stream 2 gasoline pipeline with Russia.

Luxembourg’s PM Xavier Bettel pushed again. Standing beside Merkel at the shut of a go to to Berlin on Monday, he advised reporters that whereas he revered her place, Warsaw’s assaults towards the supremacy of EU legislation posed a “problem with the whole architecture of Europe.” He said EU leaders “must at least be able to talk about it,” in keeping with a transcript of his remarks despatched out by the German chancellery.

Different readout: And as our eagle-eyed colleague Hans von der Burchard noticed, a Luxembourgish press launch included a further quote from Bettel: “​​I would like the Commission to examine this issue and, if necessary, to proceed with the instruments at its disposal.”

PARLIAMENT’S CALL FOR ACTION: MEPs, in the meantime, are calling on the Commission to behave. They’ve ready a draft decision “on The Rule of legislation disaster in Poland and the primacy of EU legislation,” signed by the EPP, S&D, Greens, Renew and the Left. Playbook has obtained a duplicate.

What’s in it: The EU’s solely straight elected physique reminds everybody else that Poland joined the bloc voluntarily and that membership comes with clear obligations. The MEPs name “for urgent and coordinated action from the Commission and the Council by launching infringement procedures … triggering [the rule of law mechanism to withdraw EU funding for Poland] … Refraining from approving the draft Recovery and Resilience Plan of Poland.”

They additionally need the EU to maneuver ahead with the Article 7 process to strip Poland of its voting rights (although Hungary, which is going through its personal Article 7 proceedings, will virtually definitely block that transfer).

More instantly: And in a step that would hit Warsaw a lot sooner, MEPs additionally name on the Commission to halt funds below a little-used clause that claims Brussels can cease disbursing funds if it believes “control systems” on spending are now not functioning in a recipient nation.

WEBER WARNS AGAINST INTER-EU LEGAL FIGHT: But whereas backing the name for motion, Manfred Weber, the chief of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, urged President David Sassoli to chorus from suing the Commission to pressure it to behave. He made the name in a letter, dated October 14 and seen by Playbook.

Don’t pressure it: “Although the EPP Group agrees that the Commission as the Guardian of the Treaties has a particular responsibility to act forcefully whenever justified, we do not share the views that such an action [a proposed Parliament lawsuit against the Commission] for failure to act is both legally and politically appropriate at this juncture,” Weber writes.

Weber’s argument is two-fold: First, he notes Parliament’s personal authorized providers decided “the chances of success in a court action … are slim” (as Playbook beforehand reported). Secondly, he warns towards politicizing the EU’s high courtroom. “The EPP is of the view that the European Parliament being a political establishment ought to behave and act accordingly, utilizing all the parliamentary instruments out there quite than litigating in Court towards different European establishments.” That’s in-line with Merkel’s name.

Background: Parliament’s authorized affairs committee final week voted to launch a lawsuit towards the Commission over its inaction on the rule of legislation, in a movement backed by the Socialists and Democrats, liberals and Greens. Weber’s center-right EPP, additionally Ursula von der Leyen’s political household, abstained.

What’s subsequent: Sassoli will talk about the challenge with the leaders of the political teams — together with Weber — on Wednesday, Playbook hears. Sassoli is then anticipated to behave on the committee’s determination and launch the lawsuit, regardless of Weber’s objections.

EU MINISTERS HOLD BACK: As this morning’s drama unfolds in Strasbourg, EU ministers are assembly in Luxembourg to organize Thursday’s summit of leaders. But Playbook hears that discussions amongst a number of member international locations final week to signal a joint assertion crucial of Poland have been deserted — at the very least till after the Polish PM speaks.

BENELUX GOES IT ALONE: Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are anticipated to make a joint assertion on Poland at the assembly. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been main the cost towards the Polish authorities, and is anticipated to additionally elevate the challenge at this week’s leaders’ summit.


OMBUDSMAN ADVANCES INQUIRY: EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly will at the moment take the subsequent step in her probe into revolving doors at the European Commission, amid a cumulation of circumstances by which public servants jumped ship for profitable jobs in the non-public sector.

By the numbers: O’Reilly is the recordsdata of some 100 former EU officers who now work in the non-public sector. Former managers from 14 directorates common are concerned, together with AGRI, ECFIN, TRADE and CNECT, in addition to entities resembling the authorized service and regulatory scrutiny board.

DG Comp in the highlight: But the report is anticipated to make specific point out of current strikes inside Margrethe Vestager’s competitors division. Three high officers in the division have jumped ship in the previous yr — most lately, Nicholas Banasevic, who spearheaded the Commission’s antitrust probes towards Google, joined legislation agency Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

O’REILLY URGES ACTION: Speaking to Playbook forward of at the moment’s replace, O’Reilly highlighted the want for the Commission to deal with the challenge: “Two years in the past we urged the Commission to take a extra strong method, but the strategically vital DG for Competition coverage, for instance, continues to shed high attorneys to personal sector entities with main industrial pursuits in competitors regulation.”

ARTICLE 16 (no, not that one …): The Ombudsman is anticipated to level out that the Commission has hardly ever chosen to show down a request from a former official to take a job, as set out in Article 16 of the EU Staff Regulations (and to not be confused with Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol). O’Reilly can even elevate the incontrovertible fact that former workers members may advise their new colleagues on points straight linked to their former roles, even when barred from engaged on these points straight.


BRUSSELS’ FAVORITE ACRONYMS: The destiny of the six-pack and two-pack — the laws underpinning the EU’s financial rulebook — may very well be in the steadiness, as the Commission kicks off a public session on fiscal reform. Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Paolo Gentiloni will launch a assessment of the EU financial governance framework in Strasbourg at the moment.

Background: The Commission early final yr started a dialogue on reforming the Stability and Growth Pact rules, amid criticism from some international locations that they have been too restrictive. But when the COVID pandemic hit, the rules have been successfully suspended. Now the debate is again, with some international locations arguing the primary rules — that debt mustn’t exceed 60 % of GDP and the annual price range deficit needs to be capped at 3 % of GDP — aren’t match for goal.

The acquainted battle strains have been drawn, with a gaggle of frugals, led by Austria and northern international locations, warning towards rest of the rules final month.

Starting gun: Today’s proposal is the start line for a dialogue which the Commission desires to wrap up by the finish of the yr. But the actual determination on timing can be whether or not a definitive determination is taken by early spring as international locations put together their budgetary plans for 2023. As our colleague Bjarke Smith-Meyer reviews, the Vienna-led block desires a debate that isn’t tied to the 2023 timeline.

GREEN DEBATE: Also looming on the horizon is the debate about whether or not funding in inexperienced applied sciences or infrastructure needs to be exempted from the debt and deficit ceilings. Belgium joined international locations together with Italy and Spain in arguing that, not solely ought to the bloc loosen its fiscal framework, but it surely must also create a brand new EU fund that may finance Europe’s transition to a inexperienced economic system, in keeping with Belgium’s state secretary for financial restoration and strategic funding, Thomas Dermine. “We need a 5,000 billion investment plan at the EU level, which would be 3.5 percent of GDP in the next 10 years — just for climate,” he mentioned.

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LATEST ON BELARUS: As we previewed, EU overseas ministers assembly in Luxembourg agreed on Monday to think about new sanctions on Belarus’ nationwide airline Belavia. Speaking after the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), EU High Representative Josep Borrell mentioned the EU was able to undertake new sanctions, although the course of is more likely to take a while. Ireland, a hub for plane leasing companies that are persevering with to rent planes to Belavia, mentioned it was in favor of the proposal — however with the caveat that it will solely apply to future and never present contracts.

NO RESPITE FOR ENERGY COSTS: European gasoline costs proceed to rise Monday, after Russian vitality large Gazprom gave no signal it will enhance provide at a month-to-month public sale. President Vladimir Putin had promised Russia would enhance the stream of gasoline into Europe amid accusations Moscow was intentionally dampening provide.

Borrell fires again: The EU’s overseas affairs chief on Monday mentioned the current value spike had “deep geopolitical roots” and can be the topic of the EU’s subsequent FAC in November, Hans von der Burchard reviews. EU leaders can even talk about vitality costs at this week’s summit.


GEORGIA ON THEIR MIND: Dozens of present and former EU officers have signed an open letter calling for the launch of former Georgian chief Mikheil Saakashvili, our colleague David Herszenhorn reviews.

IRAN CONFUSION: There have been combined messages about the subsequent stage in the Iran nuclear talks, after the EU contradicted early reviews from Iranian information company Fars that the nation’s lead nuclear negotiator would go to Brussels on Thursday. Speaking after the FAC in Luxembourg on Monday, Borrell mentioned: “Next Thursday there’s not going to be a gathering.”


MACRON’S WAR ON WOKE: Emmanuel Macron’s authorities is making the struggle towards woke theories a cornerstone of its push to rally supporters from the left and the proper, our colleague Clea Caulcutt reviews.

SWEDEN’S NEW BORDER HEADACHE: At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when roads into Sweden have been largely closed, customs and coast guard patrols turned their consideration to the sea — and what they found alarmed them, reviews Charlie Duxbury: small boats ferrying medication and different illicit cargo throughout the water.

PRIMER — WHAT’S CLOUDING THE TRANSATLANTIC TECH ALLIANCE: EU plans to rein in Silicon Valley through new competitors rules are rising as a critical irritant in the transatlantic relationship, reviews POLITICO’s Pieter Haeck.

**What are your ideas round know-how and the way forward for 5G? Who’s on high in the tech world? Give us 2 minutes of your time to fill a fast survey on the movers and shakers in the world of 5G. Take me to the survey.**


European Parliament plenary session continues in Strasbourg. Full agenda.

How to look at the Polish rule of legislation disaster debate: Begins 9 a.m. Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister Anže Logar, showing on behalf of the presidency of the Council, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ship opening remarks, adopted by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Watch. Morawiecki can even take part in the ECR group assembly at 3:30 p.m.

— EU Ambassador to the U.Ok. João Vale de Almeida to go to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for a ceremony confirming his standing at 1:15 p.m. Brussels time. Backstory.

— Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Luxembourg’s PM Xavier Bettel take part in bell ringing ceremony to mark the itemizing of the first NextGenerationEU Green Bond at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange at 9:30 a.m. Watch.

— Meeting of the College of Commissioners in Strasbourg.

— Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Paolo Gentiloni maintain press convention on financial governance at 3:30 p.m.

General Affairs Council meets in Luxembourg. Begins 10 a.m.; press convention anticipated round 4:15 p.m. Watch.

— Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi holds press convention on the enlargement bundle at 5:15 p.m. Watch.

— Commissioner Mariya Gabriel speaks at the Transatlantic Digital Relations convention, for a dialogue on the EU-U.S. Trade and Tech Council organized by EU40 and the Slovenian presidency. Begins 4 p.m. Register.

**Join POLITICO’s journalists on a Banking and insurance coverage reforms POLITICO Pro Briefing name on October 28, discussing the monetary providers laws and insurance coverage reform proposals. Not a POLITICO Pro subscriber however thinking about attending? Email [email protected].**  


PARLIAMENT INTERPRETER GOES ON SWEARY RANT DURING PLENARY: One European Parliament interpreter had a very robust day at work on Monday, occurring an expletive-packed rant which may very well be heard by anybody listening to the English-language stay interpretation — together with our personal Eddy Wax. Listen to the clip right here (headphones in — NSFW warning).

NEW JOB: Nicola del Valle de Sousa Gavaia is McDonald’s new EU authorities relations supervisor.

BIRTHDAYS: MEPs Pierre Karleskind, Beata Mazurek and Pierre Larrouturou; Former MEPs Marie-Christine Arnautu and Lucy Harris; WaPo’s Anthony Faiola; POLITICO’s Sarah Wheaton; EEAS’ Mercedes Varela Pereira; Stanisław Gądecki, archbishop of Poznań, Poland and POLITICO 28 alum; Marco Uccelli of the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

MANY THANKS: Hans von der Burchard, Jan Cienski, Bjarke Smith-Meyer, Rym Momtaz, Eddy Wax and our producer Grace Stranger.

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