Poland in agreement with EU over pandemic recovery plan says minister
Poland has reached an agreement with the European Commission (EC) over the payout of the EU's pandemic recovery funds, the development and technology minister has said.
Waldemar Buda, who was responsible for the talks with the EU, told PAP on Friday that the negotiations over Poland's National Recovery Plan (NRP) "have been closed", adding that "we have reached agreement in all issues that were subject of dispute with the European Commission."
The EU funds have been withheld by the EC due to concerns over changes to the Polish judicial system, some of which were seen by Brussels as undermining the European rule of law values.
Buda said that the agreement "creates a basis for the EC to approve the Polish NRP within a week or two."
One of the contested judicial changes was the introduction of a disciplinary panel for judges at the Supreme Court which the EC said could be used to silence judges who are critical of the government.
Buda said Poland had agreed to shut down the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and to modify the scope of judicial disciplinary responsibility. He said that the necessary legislative process should be completed by the end of June.
Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has already filed his own draft law reforming the Supreme Court, but the bill was stalled due to a prolonged conflict within the ruling coalition, which now seems to have been resolved.
In 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered an immediate suspension of the Disciplinary Chamber, but the body is still operating.
Poland is asking for EUR 23.9 billion in EU recovery grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans.