Cohesion Fund payments not threatened says Morawiecki

Andrzej Lange/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has said that Poland should get access to billions of euros from the EU’s Cohesion Fund despite concerns in Brussels over Polish compliance EU requirements on fundamental rights.

Poland is due to receive EUR 75 billion from the Cohesion Fund under the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

But owing to its alleged failure to fulfil conditions regarding judicial independence — the subject of a long-running dispute between Warsaw and Brussels — the European Commission (EC) is likely to freeze refunds for the payments proposed by the government in the country's Partnership Agreement.

Speaking in Brussels following a meeting of the European Council, Morawiecki reacted to comments made by Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira, who said that Poland had a problem with the observance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The charter sets out the personal freedoms and rights enjoyed by EU citizens.

Morawiecki added that Ferreira was in contact with Grzegorz Puda, the Polish minister of funds and regional policy.

On Friday morning, referring to media reports that Poland could lose the EUR 75 billion from the Cohesion Fund, Puda told PAP that the country had not received any official documents from the EC confirming such statements.

According to media reports, as Poland has failed to meet four basic conditions, including the one regarding the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it may not be entitled to receive the funding.

"On March 7, Poland informed the EC that it had fulfilled the condition concerning the implementation of the charter in our country," Puda said.

"We have been waiting for a response from the EC, and we believe it will confirm that this condition has been met," said Puda.

"Poland has already received over EUR 1 billion from the new financial perspective for 2021-2027. The EC has approved all national and regional programmes," he added.

The dialogue between the Commission and the Polish government is ongoing, with the Commission expecting Poland to deliver proposals on what measures it will implement to fulfill the conditions, EC spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said.