EU Commission Approves Corona Aid for Poland
The EU Commission approves payments because Poland shows concessions in the ongoing legal dispute. The EU Commission has been blocking the payment of corona aid to Poland for over a year. The Polish government had applied for 23.9 billion euros in grants and 11.5 billion euros in loans from the European recovery fund. Poland had already submitted its corona construction plan about a year ago. All member states that want to receive money from the EU’s corona fund worth around 800 billion euros must submit it. However, the EU Commission refused to approve the plan and thus the aid payment.
The background are the dispute over the rule of law and the judicial system in Poland, which has been going on for years between the Polish government and the EU. The EU accuses Poland of violating the principles of the rule of law and having undermined the judiciary’s independence with several reforms. Last October, the European Court of Justice even sentenced Poland to a daily fine of one million euros until the controversial reforms were reversed.
The EU Commission linked the Corona aid money to the conditions that Poland fulfils the requirements and cancels the reforms in its own country – above all, the disciplinary chamber for judges, which the EU Commission has sharply criticized. The panel could fine or even dismiss Polish judges.
Poland finally gave in in February: President Andrzej Duda announced the end of the disciplinary chamber – and it was only on Tuesday that the Polish parliament approved its abolition. Now the vote of the Polish Senate is still pending.
The EU decision comes one day before Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits Warsaw, and she is expected to provide details of her panel’s decision. But the billions for Poland are not yet inevitable – according to the EU Commission, the 27 members of the EU Council must also agree to the payment.
Image by NATO (Flickr)/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)