EU blocks Polish funds until Warsaw addresses judicial issues

European Commission blocks transfers of national recovery funds to Poland, arguing that Warsaw is still failing to meet EU conditions.

EU blocks Polish funds until Warsaw addresses judicial issues

The European Commission will hold off on making payments to Poland under the National Recovery Plan as Warsaw is still not meeting conditionality criteria, a commission spokesperson said, amid concerns about an independent judiciary.

"As a result of the failure to meet the enabling conditions, the Commission cannot make any reimbursement of the expenditures submitted by Poland, with the exception of technical assistance and actions contributing to the fulfillment of the enabling conditions," Stefan De Keersmaecker, a spokesman for the European Commission, told Polish daily Rzeczpospolita on Monday.

The total expected is €24 billion ($24.5 billion) in subsidies and €12 billion in loans to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. The commission approved the overall program in June.

Rzeczpospolita reported that withholding the payments will also impact funds from cohesion policy, a much larger sum of over €75 billion in subsidies in the EU budget for 2021-2027. Only part of the advance has been paid so far, reportedly only 0.5% of the total amount.

For months, the government has said Poland would receive money for implementation of the plan, despite reservations the European Commission raised about changes made by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro that it said still threaten judicial independence.

Morawiecki finally agreed in the summer that Poland would fulfill the conditions presented by the commission, promising restoration of the rule of law, including implementing a European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling on liquidation of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and the related need to reinstate judges removed by the chamber and guaranteeing judges the right to ask the CJEU preliminary questions.

The chamber no longer exists – it has been replaced by a new Chamber of Professional Responsibility – but the other conditions have not been fulfilled.

Morawiecki said this will not fundamentally change Poland’s economic situation.

“There are many more important EU funds, structural funds, cohesion fund, and agricultural funds. I am convinced that one of these will come to us and not in a trickle, but with a normal flow at the turn of this and the next year,” he said on public television TVP in August.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Ekim 2022, 19:08