Poland to apply for recovery funds when EC ready to proceed says minister

Szynkowski vel Sęk said on Thursday that his talks in Brussels "are not easy" because the European Commission, he claimed, has a tendency to extend its competences beyond the limits stipulated in EU treaties. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Poland will submit its first request for access to its frozen EU post-pandemic funding when the European Commission (EC) is ready to handle the application, the Polish European affairs minister said after talks in Brussels.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk met EC officials to resolve the rule-of-law dispute over changes to the Polish judicial system introduced by the Polish government that led to Brussels blocking the country's access to the billions of euros in the fund.

Poland argues that it has reversed the changes that the EU objected to and therefore should get the money. But Brussels has said the steps Warsaw has taken are insufficient and has demanded further policy reversals.

Szynkowski vel Sęk said on Thursday that his talks in Brussels "are not easy" because the European Commission, he claimed, has a tendency to extend its competences beyond the limits stipulated in EU treaties.

"These tendencies... to go beyond the treaty framework and, on the other hand, our principled position that one should stick to the treaty framework, make this dialogue not easy," he said.

His talks with EC officials were designed, Szynkowski vel Sęk continued, to ensure that the Commission is ready to handle Poland's application for the recovery funds.

"And we are at the beginning of this dialogue. How long the dialogue will last depends on the European Commission. We have presented our arguments," Szynkowski vel Sęk said.

"The application will be submitted when we are clear that there is readiness on the part of the Commission to proceed with the request smoothly," he added.

The minister also said that it is "important that this dialogue is continued and that we try to mutually strive within this space to bring our positions closer."