Medriva

After a year of impasse, Brussels is nearing an agreement with Poland to release tens of billions of euros in the form of loans and grants, according to a senior EU official.

The European Commission’s executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, said officials were “finalizing” work on funds for Warsaw’s pandemic recovery program, which had been stalled due to worries about Poland’s rule of law.

“Without…..100% surety, because there were some false starts before,” Dombrovskis told journalists on Tuesday in Brussels.

However, speaking after a discussion with finance ministers, Dombrovskis noted that there were still “ongoing issues” regarding the autonomy of Poland’s judiciary.

A deal between Brussels and Warsaw would be a watershed moment after years of extremely tense talks between the EU and Warsaw’s conservative nationalist government over its judicial system, parts of which the EU has declared invalid.

Since Warsaw posted its bid for a portion of the €800 billion NextGenerationEU recovery program in May of last year, an aid package for Poland was frozen. Poland demanded €12.1 billion in loans and €23.9 billion in grants from the EU’s restoration fund. Brussels wishes to express togetherness with Poland, which has been instrumental in the EU’s reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

However, discussions between the Warsaw authorities and Brussels over the recovery program have consistently failed due to Polish constitutional change, which includes modifications to the country’s constitutional court as well as the establishment of a disciplinary compartment with the authority to prosecute judges for the composition of their court decisions.

In an obvious effort to unblock discussions with Brussels, Polish President Andrzej Duda introduced legislation this year to abolish the corrective compartment for judges. Soon after, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party proposed its own set of reforms.

The commission and Poland’s coalition government are attempting to incorporate agreed-upon rule-of-law milestones and reforms into the country’s recovery strategy.

Due to the economic burdens on the country caused by the deluge of millions of Ukrainian refugees, the immediacy of unlocking Poland’s €36 billion portion of the proposal has only grown.

At a March summit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki informed fellow EU leaders that Poland may also need to spend an additional €24 billion this year on refugees running away from the war, and he urged Brussels to increase its financial assistance to the nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.