Weitere EU-News, Hintergründe und Debatten finden Sie auf EurActiv Deutschland!
"The European Commission has already prepared the draft of the long-term budget and shaped the policy of the European Union. Now it's time to defend it," said Lewandowski on a trip to Warsaw.
"In fact, both the figures and a fundamental profile of European policy for the future have already been shaped," he added.
Lewandowski made the comments in a presentation to the think-tank demosEUROPA and in a separate interview with EurActiv Poland, published ahead of the Commission's proposals for the EU's long-term budget last week.
The Polish commissioner said that "very rough times" were lying ahead for the Commission in its effort to protect the EU budget.
Last December, five EU countries – France, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Finland – sent a letter to the Commission calling for a freeze of the EU budget until 2020.
But Lewandowski rejected that approach, saying that "a few countries" had pushed for their national interest in a "unilateral and very arrogant manner".
The Polish commissioner noted that while some member states would like a budget decrease, the European Parliament recently voted through a resolution for a 5% increase. The Parliament will have co-decision powers on approving the EU budget for 2014-2020, giving it an equal say with member states on the matter.
He said he would defend the proposed EU budget as "a balanced, reasonable […] vision which will also protect the European project, because when it is not financed it is only a slogan".
Lewandowski also highlighted the difficulties facing Europe's fledgling External Action Service, admitting that "it is extremely difficult to achieve a real EU foreign policy". He added, however, that no country was challenging either the common market or energy security and that upcoming EU budgets would provide these with stronger financial foundations.
Defending euro and Schengen area
Lewandowski raised concerns that negotiations over the 2014-2020 budget will be difficult due to the "unfavourable conditions" created by the euro zone's debt crisis and the bailouts of the peripheral economies of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
The Polish commissioner also expressed alarm that some key EU achievements, namely the common currency and freedom of movement, were being increasingly put into question.
Poland has taken on an active role as a defender of the Schengen passport-free zone, and supported expanding it to the EU's Central and Eastern European citizens, he said.
Contrary to expectations, Lewandowski said it was the peripheral members of the EU-15 that had turned out to be the weak links during the crisis rather than the Central and Eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.
Governments 'held hostage by right-wing xenophobic reflexes'
Furthermore, Lewandowski said the economic crisis had strengthened nationalist and far-right groups, leading the governments of many member states to be increasingly "held hostage by right-wing xenophobic reflexes".
He cited in particular Denmark and the Netherlands, where the governments are dependent respectively on the support of the Eurosceptic and anti-immigration Danish People's Party and the Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders.
Lewandowski also highlighted the fact that far-right parties have so far constituted only a small part of the European Parliament, whereas in the recent national and local elections across European they have been visible "almost everywhere".
He said far-right parties currently constitute "the most vociferous section of the European Parliament," in which they are beginning "to enforce their whims with reference to the whole of Europe".
"That is the Europe we live in, the Europe that the Polish Presidency inherits on 1 July," he said. He added that in his view Poland has a mission to be "a reliable and optimistic country, in an attempt to regain trust in the European project which is beneficial for everyone".
He stressed that Poland should defend the Schengen area and other achievements of European integration, "irrespective of all the difficulties that will occur".
Lewandowski added that such a context must be taken into consideration while planning the EU budget. He stressed that the vision of the EU budget for the years 2014-2020 demands the agreement of all 27 member states.
To read the article in full in the original Polish, please click here.