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    Poland may remain the biggest net recipient of European Union funding, which saved the country from recession two years ago, through 2020, Regional Development Minister Elzbieta Bienkowska said.

    “EU funding was a wonderful panacea during the crisis,” Bienkowska told a news conference today in Warsaw. “We are optimistic that we will remain the biggest net recipients in the period covered by the next budget.”

    Poland, a country of 38 million, received most EU funding on a net basis in the 2007-2013 budget, getting 67 billion euros ($97 billion) in aid to iron out differences between richer and poorer states. EU governments this year began debating the bloc’s next multiyear budget, with eight member states including Germany warning last week that European public spending “cannot be exempt” from national efforts to consolidate government finances.

    Poland, the only EU member to avoid recession in 2009, may receive as much or slightly more in the next budget, which covers the 2014-2020 period, Bienkowska said. The former Soviet satellite state, which joined the bloc in 2004, benefited as EU funding was channeled into large-scale infrastructure projects.

    Aid received so far has added an average 1.5 percentage points to economic growth each year, the Regional Affairs Ministry has said. The government forecasts growth of 4 percent next year.


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