Polish opposition attacks prime minister over EU budget deal

Two Polish opposition leaders criticized Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz Saturday for his performance at the European Union summit, charging that he failed to secure enough development money in the bloc's future budget. Poland, the largest of 10 nations that joined the EU last year, negotiated hard in Brussels and reclaimed several billion euros in regional aid that were under threat. But that was too little for two parties that have in the past given the minority government parliamentary support.

"This is not a success at all," said Andrzej Lepper, the leader of the farm-based and EU-skeptic Self-Defense party, Poland's PAP news agency reported. Lepper said newcomer Poland should have received much more money in its bid to catch up economically with older EU members in Western Europe. Roman Giertych, the leader of the ultra-conservative League of Polish Families, maintained that Poland would be getting far less than was offered during talks on EU membership.

"This is not a success, this is a total defeat in negotiations," Giertych told a news conference. "We will be a net contributor to the EU budget." His party, which supported Marcinkiewicz's conservative Cabinet in a vote of confidence in November, has since withdrawn its support for the government's economic policy. Marcinkiewicz hailed the summit's outcome as a success on his return to Poland, saying the country will be getting "a lot." "If we properly invest these means, if we use them like Ireland and Spain have done, then we will be able to support Poland's development and change what we see around us," he said, reports the AP. N.U.

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