WARSAW, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Poland is in talks with Hungary to
create a development bank aimed at investments in infrastructure
in the region and plans to involve Slovakia and the Czech
Republic in the project, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz
Morawiecki said on Wednesday.
Morawiecki met his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in
Budapest to discuss economic and political co-operation,
including European Union migration quotas which they oppose, as
well as issues regarding energy and the next EU budget.
"We talked about a Visegrad development bank. We can afford
a bank that would support infrastructure development in the
region," Morawiecki told reporters after his Budapest trip,
referring to a group of central European countries comprising
Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic.
"We strongly confirmed (with PM Orban) that we're
interested. If Czechs and Slovaks respond positively we could
quickly set up this bank," he said without providing more
Morawiecki also said his cabinet had not changed its
sceptical view about adopting the euro in the near future
despite recent calls from local economists trying to convince
the Polish government to join the euro zone soon and keep Poland
close to the core of the EU.
"We have not changed our rhetoric with regard to this. This
is not an issue today," Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki and Orban appeared to have struck up a good
personal relationship, reinforcing their countries' diplomatic
rapprochement within the EU.
When the EU's executive body launched an unprecedented legal
action against Warsaw in December in an attempt to force it to
reverse judicial reforms that Brussels says undermine democracy,
Orban signalled he would use Hungary's right of veto to block
any punitive sanctions against Poland.
"We are like-minded countries," Morawiecki said when asked
if Poland offered anything to Hungary in exchange for Orban's
gesture and added that Budapest could rely on Poland in the
Both Orban's Fidesz and the ruling Law and Justice party
(PiS) in Poland are riding high in national opinion polls,
thanks to their strong economic record, tough anti-migrant
policies and their defiance of EU institutions.
Critics say reforms introduced by Fidesz in Hungary and by
PiS in Poland are eroding democracy and the rule of law, charges
rejected by Budapest and Warsaw.
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski and Krisztina Than; Editing by
Lidia Kelly and Richard Balmforth)
First Published: 2018-01-03 16:55:16
Updated 2018-01-03 21:58:11
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