Liberal-leaning news portal Onet.pl claimed some politicians in Poland’s ruling party are calling for the head of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, accusing him of failing to inform them of a number of conditions Poland has accepted in order to activate its operational program for Poland’s allocation of the EU’s Recovery Fund.
The Polish prime minister has publicly assured people that all indicators, objectives, and milestones were discussed and approved by the entire Council of Ministers and that all ministers know full well what these were.
But according to Onet.pl, internal government documents tell a different story. Ministries had just two hours to give an opinion on a document, hundreds of pages long, about the operational program. Moreover, according to the ministries, the document they approved back in April 2021 differs markedly from that which was announced in May. The original from last year did not contain a range of Polish government commitments, which have now been made to the European Commission.
According to the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, the government has committed itself to 48 reforms that are to be measured by 115 milestones. Among them is the commitment to impose social security charges on all forms of labor and service contracts; increasing the retirement age; the introduction of a tax on emissions from gas- and diesel-powered automobiles; and even a provision to change the standing orders of the Polish parliament.
Onet.pl alleged that these controversial milestones were news to the leadership of the ruling party and that as a result, there is a total uproar in PiS with accusations of betrayal being leveled at the prime minister and calls for his resignation. However, no such calls have been made in public.
Ruling party politicians have certainly been irritated by the delays in EU funding caused by the Commission’s decision to delay — by several months — signing off on Poland’s operational program for use of the EU Recovery Fund. The allocation was approved in May, but it is still not clear when the funding will actually start to be transferred.
The ruling party politicians had assumed that it would be enough for Poland to agree to dissolve the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court in order for the country to be compliant with ECJ rulings for the funding to be unlocked, but that is not how it’s turning out.
They are concerned that commitments on raising the retirement age and increases in taxation will be problematic if introduced in an election year. Poland’s parliamentary elections are due in the autumn of next year.