Justice minister questions whether Poland will receive recovery funds
Poland's justice minister wants to ask the prime minister why Polish access to EU post-pandemic recovery funding is still blocked despite assurances that Poland will get the money.
The European Commission (EC) approved Poland's National Recovery Plan (KPO) in early June, opening the way for Warsaw to get EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans from the bloc's post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility.
The KPO outlines how the Polish government will spend the money, but so far the EC has refused to grant Poland access to the funding until it meets several rule-of-law milestones.
Poland argues that it has already enacted legislation that meets the EC's requirements, and has rejected calls for further steps, saying they infringe on both Polish sovereignty and the EU treaties.
Critics accuse Zbigniew Ziobro, the justice minister who is also the leader of Solidary Poland, a junior member of the governing coalition, of scuppering any possible compromise between Warsaw and Brussels owing to his hawkish attitude to the EU.
At a press conference on Thursday, Ziobro was asked about the chances of Poland receiving the funds and whether he had met Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to agree a possible solution.
"I really think it would be worth us meeting," Ziobro said. "I would like to ask the prime minister a question: how does he explain how the assurances he has given have not been fulfilled? How has it happened that the money is still blocked?"
Ziobro said he had not yet had an opportunity to talk to Morawiecki on the matter.
"The first question I would ask would be for the him to present his opinion on the situation," Ziobro said, adding that Morawiecki had given his assurance that not a single euro would be blocked and that Poland would receive the money in full.
Ziobro said Morawiecki had also told the public that "a mechanism that was then proposed by the European Commission under pressure from Germany and Mrs (former German Chancellor, Angela - PAP)) Merkel is not a threat to our country or our budget."
The justice minister went on to say measures Morawiecki had agreed to were now being used by the EC to block the funding and "blackmail" Poland "by forcing changes to our legal and constitutional order."