Poland: Conservative ruling party creating new judicial reform plan to unlock EU Recovery Plan money

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, and his main opponent inside the ruling right-wing coalition, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, left, during a crucial vote in parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Polish lawmakers have voted to approve the nation’s spending plan for the 58 billion euros ($70 billion) it expects to receive from the European Union’s pandemic recovery plan. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The European Commission has been blocking money which Poland should have received from the EU Recovery Fund, creating a political quandary for the Law and Justice (PiS) party. This fact is being abused by the opposition, which has accused the government of violating the rule of law and is pushing the idea that the ruling camp cares more about Solidarity Poland leader Zbigniew Ziobro’s judicial reform than EU loans.

According to the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Law and Justice (PiS) has a plan to resolve the conflict. In the upcoming weeks, a new project concerning the Supreme Court is to be voted on.

“The moment is significant. In terms of geopolitics, this is a moment of huge tensions. This is the right time for both us and the European Commission to take a step forward,” a government politician emphasized.

A few days ago, President Andrzej Duda proposed a project which liquidated the Disciplinary Chamber and would replace it with a Professional Responsibility Chamber. Following that, PiS also came forward with a project which seriously changed how the chamber would function.

Rzeczpospolita’s source explained that the government chose to produce its proposal to assure the public that it also had its own idea to contribute in this area. What is most likely to happen, is that both ideas will be merged into one.

Nevertheless, Solidarity Poland, which is the coalition partner of PiS in the United Right, and whose leader Zbigniew Ziobro is the justice minister, has given a cold response to the announcement. The party opposes further concessions to Brussels, and its politicians indicated that they will precisely analyze the Disciplinary Chamber reform project.

The Polish parliament will most likely deal with the project during its upcoming session between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24.

All EU member states were required to prepare their National Recovery Plans to receive funds from the EU Recovery Fund. Poland had presented its plan to the European Commission, but so far it has not been approved. Poland has around €76 billion at its disposal from the 2021-2027 coherence policy.

Poland has applied for €23.9 billion in grants and €11.5 billion in loans to support its economy as part of the National Recovery Plan. Government spokesman Piotr Muller emphasized that “the legal state is that the European Commission has blocked the funds for an EU member state in a manner which has no legal basis in EU treaties.”

In his words, “this is a display of the so-called ‘rule of law.’”

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