Deputy minister casts doubt over EU recovery fund payout

Speaking on a Catholic radio station on Monday, Sebastian Kaleta said the EU had made no compromises in the dispute over the rule of law and that the bloc wanted anarchy to prevail in Polish courts, something he said Poland could not agree to. Rafał Guz/PAP

A deputy justice minister has said it is not certain that Poland will receive money from the EU's post-pandemic recovery fund.

Poland has recently adopted new legislation abolishing a disciplinary chamber for judges at the Polish Supreme Court, which has been at the heart of a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw.

The move was seen as a concession by the Polish government to Brussels in an attempt to break the impasse over the chamber and other issues related to the rule of law in Poland. However, further conditions, known as "milestones," need to be met before Brussels will release the first tranche of funds.

Speaking on a Catholic radio station on Monday, Sebastian Kaleta said the EU had made no compromises in the dispute over the rule of law and that the bloc wanted anarchy to prevail in Polish courts, something he said Poland could not agree to.

Kaleta, a member of the Eurosceptic junior coalition party Solidary Poland, went on to argue that the European Commission would decide "arbitrarily" whether Poland receives funding.

"The Commission has already set expectations and demands on Poland, that we must change our system in line with its demands," he said. "If the political need changes then the EC's position will also change. And that's how it will look in the coming years, at the opposition's request the EC will meet the political needs."

He said the EU had cynically cut off Poland from its much-needed money to "politically empower its pets."

"That's why it's hard to say whether the money will flow at all," he continued.

He said Poland could not agree to judges being able to challenge each other as that would lead the courts ceasing to work within a few weeks. He also said the EU constantly increases its demands on Poland and, "as long as we yield to them, new demands will appear."

The tvn24.pl news site reported on Thursday that EC Vice-President Vera Jourova had told a European Parliament committee Poland's recently passed Supreme Court legal amendment did not fulfil the requirements enshrined in the country's National Recovery Plan, which outlines how Poland intends to spend the funding. She told the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) that the EC would not pay out recovery funding until the milestones were met.

Poland stands to gain EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility.