13 newest EU members highlight their importance, set out demands
Representatives of 13 countries joining the European Union since 2004 signed on Wednesday so-called Warsaw Declaration, in which they highlight their importance for the block and set out demands.
"We are grateful for what we get from the European Union, but we want to underline that we are giving back at least as much through opening our markets, our talents, and even hard money in the form of dividends we pay," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a press conference after their meeting.
[File Photo: VCG]
"We represent almost half of the countries in the EU and we are the locomotive of economic growth in Europe," Morawiecki added, saying that currently countries from the former socialist bloc recorded higher economic growth rates than some of their western European counterparts.
The leaders present in Warsaw on Wednesday -- including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila -- all signed the Warsaw Declaration on the Reunification of Europe-Our Union, Our Future.
According to Morawiecki, the Warsaw Declaration shows that the newest member states of the EU are ready to speak with one voice, and thus in the future could be more efficient in defending their interests in front of western European countries.
A first opportunity to manifest this unity will be an informal summit on the future of the European Union to take place May 9 in Sibiu, Romania, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
"The governments of all member states must take part in the EU decision-making process on the same principle and in the spirit of loyal cooperation and unity," writes the Declaration, according to the Polish Prime Minister's Office.
PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY
During the press conference, Morawiecki said the principle of subsidiarity, a basic rule of the EU, must be restored and strengthened. It means, if decisions can be more efficiently made at the national level, the EU shall not interfere.
The principle of subsidiarity regulates the exercise of powers by the EU. It seeks to set actions taken by the EU institutions within specified bounds.
The principle of subsidiarity means that, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the EU can act only if the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at EU level.
The principle of subsidiarity is laid down in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The criteria for applying it is set out in Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality annexed to the Treaties.
Poland, Hungary and other countries represented at the summit in Warsaw have been reprimanded repeatedly by Brussels for problems connected to the rule of law, independence of the judiciary or taking in refugees.
The Polish governing Law and Justice party (PiS) has been calling for a reform of the EU to return more power to national governments from Brussels.
According to Morawiecki, representatives of the newest member states present in Warsaw complained about "double standards" in the European Union when it came to respecting EU rules.
When the free market rules were in the advantage of the new member states, "we face obstacles", claimed Morawiecki, but when they work in the advantage of older member states, the rules are enforced.
There was also a problem with tax havens in the EU, the Polish Prime Minister argued, with poorer European countries being deprived of tax revenue because of tax havens located in Western Europe.
The newest member states of the EU would also fight for a next EU budget (to be approved this year and valid between 2020-2027) that is more beneficial to the less well off EU countries than initially proposed by the European Commission, Morawiecki said.