More Funding for the Polish Army. Sejm Approved Budget, Cuts Proposals Rejected
The Sejm adopted an amendment to the budget act, increasing defense spending by PLN 3 billion compared to the original draft for 2020. Amendments by the Civic Coalition (PO/KO) and the Left, demanding a budget reduction, were rejected.
The draft of this year's budget adopted by the Sejm assumes an increase in national defense spending by PLN 3 billion, so the total amount of money available to the Ministry of Defense will increase from PLN 49.9 billion to PLN 52.9 billion. Importantly, additional funds will go to the Armed Forces Modernization Fund. Its design means that they can be spent on purposes related to improving the equipment of the Polish army, even if they were not used in the budget year.
The Left and the Civic Coalition, which tabled amendments aimed at lowering the defense budget, opposed the increase in defense spending. The Left wanted to transfer 4 billion from national defense to a subsidy for municipalities to compensate for the loss of income, and under another amendment, 3 billion - to health protection. In turn, the Civic Coalition wanted to transfer 2 billion PLN from national defense to health protection, and 3 billion PLN - to an educational subsidy. However, all these amendments were rejected in voting.
The Sejm adopted the amendment to the budget act with 232 votes in favor (231 MPs from the United Right and one MP from the Left), 218 against and one abstention. The amendment was deemed necessary, taking into account the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated reductions in budget revenues and increased spending. This will be associated with an increase in the budget deficit to a total of PLN 109.3 billion.
The budget law will now go to the Senate. After it has been examined by the Senate and any amendments have been introduced, it will return to the Sejm, which will decide whether to accept or reject the proposed changes, and thus in the final form of the act.
The allocation of an additional PLN 3 billion to the Armed Forces Modernization Fund is a significant support for financing the modernization of the army and the defense industry. Excluding this amount from the budget could hinder the implementation of urgent modernization tasks in the near term.