Poland to ask for EU money before fulfilling milestones

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

An application for post-pandemic recovery funding will be submitted to the European Commission (EC) before the Polish president signs a key act into law, the prime minister has said.

Poland is due to get EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans from the EU's post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility.

But the EC has blocked Poland's access to the funding due to a rule-of-law dispute, despite the fact that the Commission has approved Poland's National Recovery Plan (KPO), which outlines how the government will spend the money.

In a bid to get access to the funds, MPs of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have tabled a bill in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, amending the law on the Supreme Court with a view to satisfying one of the rule-of-law "milestones" set by the EC.

Under the bill, disciplinary and immunity matters affecting judges would be dealt with by the Supreme Administrative Court rather than by a recently-established Chamber of Professional Responsibility.

"We want to submit (the KPO application - PAP) before sending the (supreme court - PAP) bill to the president, although it also depends on the wind-farm law," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a press briefing on Thursday.

The wind-farm legislation now passing through parliament loosens regulations on the construction of wind farms by allowing turbines to be erected closer together. Born after six-months of debate, the bill also has the support of the opposition. It also fulfills one of the EC's milestones needed to access funding under the KPO.

Next week, the Polish Senate will debate the Supreme Court law while the Sejm started discussing changes to the on-shore wind-farm law on Wednesday.