Brexit fury: UK covered £10.7bn cost of Poland’s EU membership last year, study shows

Former Polish minister: Morawiecki may engineer Polexit

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And pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU has said its probe offers an eloquent illustration of the way in which British and German taxpayers continue to foot the bill for the European Union’s ambitions – as well as a pointed reminder to other member states about where the cash actually comes from. Facts4EU’s analysts studied the European Commission’s figures from 2020, published last month – and discovered that the UK’s net contribution to the EU’s bank account – £11.1billion (€12.4billion) more than covered the £10.7billion (€12.9billion) paid to Poland.

During his report, Facts4EU’s editor-in-chief Leigh Evans explained he had selected Poland because it is the member of the EU27 which is the largest single recipient of “EU funds”.

Mr Evans said: “Many British people wrongly now assume that as Boris ‘got Brexit done’ in January last year, the UK has no longer been paying annual contributions to the EU from that date. This is – sadly – not true.

“As a result of Theresa May’s agreement to a disastrous and unjustified ‘Divorce Bill’, the United Kingdom will continue to pay monies to the EU until the year 2064. That’s 53 years from now.

“We have nothing against Poland, the Polish people, nor the almost one million Poles who have chosen to make their home perfectly legally in the United Kingdom.

“Our report above is about the EU and the UK’s relations with it.

“Poland just happens to be the biggest net beneficiary of ‘EU’ funds.”

He added: “The reality of course is that these are not EU funds at all.

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“They are funds from member countries and the ‘surplus’ comes from the small number of countries which are net contributors into the EU’s budget (of which the UK has long been the second-largest donor).

“Yet all the plaques on projects in Poland declare ‘Funded by the EU’s XYZ Fund’.

“It would perhaps be more accurate if these plaques read ‘Financed mostly from the net funding by German and UK taxpayers, after the EU Commission had taken its cut’.”

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Mr Evans stressed: “There are countless parts of the United Kingdom where local people would love to have seen the dramatic improvements in road, rail, and other infrastructure which have taken place in Poland since it joined the EU in 2004.

“The improvements have not been confined to transport facilities.

“Many aspects of Polish life are now substantially better thanks to the generosity of richer EU member countries – and in particular the UK and Germany.”

Referring to talk of a so-called Polexit, Mr Evans suggested this was unlikely to happen while Poles believed the money came from Brussels, rather than other individual countries.

He explained: “With Polish people believing that it is ‘EU funding’ that has transformed significant parts of Poland’s infrastructure and improved their lives, why would they vote to leave?

“Readers will have their own views on the secretive wealth transfer that has taken place under the European Union.

“The most important thing, in our view, is that the public in the countries of both the donors and the recipients should be made equally aware of two things:
that this wealth transfer has been taking place for years, and whose generosity was involved.”

Facts4EU’s analysis comes at a time of ongoing tension between the bloc and both Poland and Hungary over conversional legal reforms.

In a report published yesterday, the European Commission listed serious concerns about the rule of law in both countries.

The commission said each was undermining media pluralism and court independence.

They are the only two countries in the 27-member bloc under formal EU investigation for jeopardising the rule of law.

European Commissioner Didier Reynders said he would ask Hungary and Poland again to join the planned European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which they have so far not done, because “without that we cannot be sure that there is sufficient protection against fraud and corruption”.

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