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EU President Donald Tusk warned that Poland’s right-wing government could try to drive the country out of the European Union if it stops being a net recipient of bloc funding, in an interview published on Wednesday, Telegraph reported.

The former liberal Polish premier and arch-rival of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party spoke at a time when Poland is mired in conflict with the EU over various issues, including the controversial judicial reforms that led Brussels to launch unprecedented disciplinary proceedings against Warsaw last month.

"For PiS the benefit of being in the EU boils down to the balance of payments, with a complete disregard for other benefits like the common market, legal order, guaranteed security, etc," Tusk told the Tygodnik Powszechny news weekly.

"As long as we’re not a net contributor, the game is worth the candle for them. So I can easily imagine a situation where if one day Poland finds itself among the (net) contributors, the Polish government will decide that it’s time to ask Poles if they still want Poland in the EU and then will work hard so that they come to the conclusion that it’s necessary to say goodbye to membership."

Tusk said it was "a sad day for all" last month when Brussels triggered article seven of the EU treaty over what it sees as "systemic threats" to the independence of the Polish judiciary from the nation’s right-wing government.

"In Brussels there’s still a huge surplus of hope – I’m not saying trust, that unfortunately vanished already – that Poland will nevertheless remain in the EU," Tusk said.

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