Opposition leader accuses gov't ally of blocking EU funds for Poland

"I can neither understand nor forgive the fact that Mr. Ziobro's sulking (Zbigniew Ziobro, justice minister - PAP) has prevented Poles from accessing hundreds of billions of zlotys which we are entitled to," Tusk said at a university in Rzeszow, south-eastern Poland, on Tuesday. Piotr Polak/PAP

Donald Tusk, leader of the main opposition party Civic Platform (PO), has accused Zbigniew Ziobro, the justice minister, of obstructing a compromise with the European Union over the block's recovery money that Poland has been awaiting for a year now.

Despite filing its National Recovery Plan with the European Commission last spring, Poland has not received the funds due to its failure to comply with the EU rule of law requirements, which include the shutting down of a contested disciplinary panel for judges.

"I can neither understand nor forgive the fact that Mr. Ziobro's sulking (Zbigniew Ziobro, justice minister - PAP) has prevented Poles from accessing hundreds of billions of zlotys which we are entitled to," Tusk said at a university in Rzeszow, south-eastern Poland, on Tuesday.

Ziobro, who leads a small Eurosceptic party, has been the main opponent of any concessions towards the EU by Poland's conservative government.

"By delaying it... they're, in a way, ruining Poland's relations with the European Union, they're stealing the most valuable thing, which is time, because even if the money starts flowing in a month, two or even three months, no one will give us back the time that they're so disgracefully wasting," Tusk said.

The parliament has been working on a justice reform bill, proposed by the president, which the EU said was a step in the right direction, but Ziobro and his party have refused to support the bill in its current form.