Brussels approves the Polish recovery plan of 36,000 million with the vote against two vice presidents

Five members of the College of Commissioners oppose the decision due to the anti-democratic drift of Warsaw


The European Commission has lifted this Wednesday the veto on the recovery plan presented by Poland almost a year ago to access 35,400 million euros from the European anti-crisis fund, a decision that was reluctant to validate due to the anti-democratic drift of Warsaw and that finally goes ahead with the vote against two of its vice presidents, the liberal Margrethe Vestager and the socialist Frans Timmermans, community sources have informed Europa Press.

Three other members of the Executive chaired by Ursula von der Leyen have expressed “written objections” to not being able to vote because they were not present at the meeting: the Vice President responsible for the Rule of Law, Vera Jourova, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, and the Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johanson.

The debate and the subsequent vote is not a requirement for the adoption of the favorable opinion from Brussels, but was requested by several commissioners who reject that there are “sufficient guarantees” that the commitments of the Polish Government will be translated into measures that really guarantee judicial independence in the country.

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Von der Leyen will travel to Warsaw this Thursday to present, together with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and the country’s President, Andrzej Duda, the details of the plan with which Poland could receive up to 23.9 billion euros in direct payments and another 11.5 billion in loans.

The positive opinion of Brussels is not, however, the last step for the definitive approval of the plan, which also needs the approval of the Twenty-seven – whose Ministers of Economy and Finance (Ecofin) must pronounce themselves within a month – -.

The different disbursements foreseen in the plan are in any case conditioned to reforms and precise milestones whose fulfillment must be evaluated before the payment of these tranches is unblocked.

The Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, has defended in a press conference after the College of Commissioners that they will examine “the fulfillment of each commitment very, very firmly” and has avoided responding to doubts about the rule of law, with the argument that it will be Von der Leyen who will explain the decision on Thursday from Warsaw.

The Italian commissioner has also stressed that the adoption comes after examining the criteria set by the regulation and “not based on other evaluations”, in an attempt to disassociate this decision from the rest of the files that Brussels maintains open against Warsaw.

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The Community Executive has limited itself to affirming in a statement that the plan includes milestones linked to “important aspects of the independence of the Judiciary that are of particular importance to improve the investment climate” and that the country must “demonstrate that these milestones are fulfilled before any disbursement can be made”.

During the months of negotiation, the Community Executive warned Warsaw that for the approval of the plan all the established criteria had to be met, including measures against corruption and guarantees of respect for the rule of law, which in the Polish case happened, for example , for dismantling the disciplinary committee imposed on the country’s Supreme Court and ensuring the reinstatement of judges suspended by the controversial body.

The anti-democratic drift of the ultra-conservative Polish government complicated the negotiation of the plan with Brussels, which has several open files against Poland for reforms that violate fundamental rights and put the independence of the country’s judicial system at risk.

In fact, the Community Executive took the last formal step last March to activate the conditionality mechanism that allows it to freeze the disbursement of certain European funds to Poland for fear that they will be used to undermine the rights of citizens.

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