Source: TVN24

The European Commission has approved Poland’s National Recovery Plan, TVN24 correspondent in Brussels Maciej Sokołowski informed on Wednesday. Two commissioners were against the decision. The EU Commission issued a statement announcing the approval of the recovery plan later on Wednesday, listing a number of milestones that Poland needs to fulfill before any funds can be disbursed.

“The European Commission has today given a positive assessment of Poland’s recovery and resilience plan, an important step towards the EU disbursing € 23.9 billion in grants and € 11.5 billion in loans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This financing will support the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Poland’s recovery and resilience plan. It will enable Poland to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic and progress with the green and digital transitions, “the EU Commission said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Warsaw on Thursday to announce the deal, under which Poland is to get 23.9 billion euros in grants and 11.5 billion euros in cheap loans over several years.
According to TVN24 correspondent in Brussels Maciej Sokołowski, two commissioners were against backing of the recovery plan: Frans Timmermans and Margarete Vestager.
The Commission also listed a number of commitments Poland would need live up to, including a comprehensive reform of the disciplinary regime for judges. This reform would have to meet the following criteria:
  • All disciplinary cases against judges will be adjudicated by a court, different from the current Disciplinary Chamber, that complies with EU law requirements in line with the case law of the Court of Justice and is thus independent, impartial, and established by law;
  • Judges cannot be subject to disciplinary liability for submitting a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice, for the content of their judicial decisions, or for verifying whether another court is independent, impartial, and established by law;
  • Procedural rights of parties in disciplinary proceedings are strengthened;
  • All judges affected by the past Disciplinary Chamber rulings will have the right to have these rulings reviewed without delay by a court that complies with EU requirements and is thus independent, impartial, and established by law.
“The Commission will authorize disbursements of funds based on the satisfactory fulfillment of the milestones and targets outlined in the recovery and resilience plan, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms,” ​​the Commission said in the statement.
“Some milestones are necessary to ensure the effective protection of the Union’s financial interests and must be fulfilled before Poland presents its first payment request,” the EU executive added.

The Commission has long accused Poland’s ruling nationalists of undercutting democracy and it froze Warsaw’s access to nearly 24 billion euros ($ 25.6 trillion) in grants and 11.5 billion euros in cheap loans over changes they made to the country’s judiciary.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party created a disciplinary chamber for judges that the top EU court struck down as illegal because it fails to provide safeguards against political meddling and hence violates a central democratic tenet.
In power since 2015, PiS has also put media and NGOs under more state control, restricted the rights of women, gays and migrants, drawing criticism from rights groups and international watchdogs.

Warsaw’s ties with the Commission grew increasingly strained but the calculus changed after Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, a neighbor of Poland. Warsaw won praise for taking in some 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees.
The Commission since came under pressure to unlock the funds.

To clear the way, Poland’s parliament voted last Thursday in favor of a bill that would replace the disciplinary chamber for judges with a new body.

More: TVN24 News