Polish parliament ratifies EU's Recovery Fund

Rafał Guz/PAP

The Polish lower house of parliament on Tuesday ratified the European Union's EUR 750 billion Recovery Fund aimed to prop up European economies battered by the coronavirus crisis.

The vote went through with 290 MPs in favour, 33 against and 133 abstentions.

The ruling United Right camp had to strike an agreement with the opposition party, the Left, to win the vote as one of United Right's partners, the nationalist Solidary Poland, refused to endorse the fund, citing sovereignty concerns, and voted against.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki denied Solidary Poland's allegations that the Recovery Fund would make Poland responsible for other countries' debts.

"This great undertaking can't be subject to gambling. It can't be subject to various tricks, juggling or political particularisms, because this would resemble Russian roulette," Morawiecki added.

After the vote, he expressed thanks to "all who rose above their party calculations," saying that the vote was a breakthrough event.

"The hard work of Poles will be supported by various infrastructural investments," Morawiecki went on to say.

Borys Budka, leader of the main opposition group, the centrist Civic Coalition, said Morawiecki had been unable to convince his own coalition partner to support the ratification.

The Civic Coalition abstained from the vote, arguing that although it supported the EU plan, it did not trust that the ruling camp would use the funds in a just and fair way.

Adrian Zandberg, a leader of the Left party, said the Recovery Fund was meant to help Europe emerge stronger from the crisis.

"It is a chance for a civilisational leap," Zandberg said, likening the Recovery Fund to the 1948 US-sponsored Marshall Plan, which helped Europe recover from the destruction of World War II.

Poland submitted its draft of the National Recovery Plan, a national scheme of how to use the funds, to the European Commission on Monday.

All EU countries have to submit a plan if they want to gain access to the EU's multi-billion euro post-pandemic aid package.

Under the plan, Poland could receive some EUR 58.1 billion in grants and loans, including over EUR 34 billion this year.