BERLIN — European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker criticized a German government proposal, reported by POLITICO earlier this week, to block access to EU funding for member countries who break the bloc’s rules on economic performance or democratic standards.
“I am of the opinion that we shouldn’t do that,” the Commission president told a conference at the German foreign ministry on Thursday, adding that he didn’t think threats were a good way to impose fiscal discipline and respect for the rule of law.
“Not because I wouldn’t sometimes want to do that. But I believe it won’t be helpful to divide the European Union,” Juncker added. “That would be poison for the Continent.”
The German government is looking into ways, as set out in a position paper, to freeze funding for EU countries which break such rules, in an implicit threat to countries like Poland, whose government is clashing with Brussels over issues such as the independence of the judiciary.
If the German proposal is taken forward by whoever wins September’s federal election, the EU’s most powerful economy could push for a link between abiding by EU rules and so-called “cohesion funds” that act as subsidies for poorer regions of Europe. Poland was promised about €86 billion worth of such EU funds in the seven-year EU budget framework that runs through 2020.
Click Here: Putters