After the approval of the Polish Corona recovery plan, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that agreed judicial reforms must be implemented before billions in aid can be paid out.
“First the milestones have to be reached, then the money will be paid out,” said the politician on Thursday during a visit to Warsaw. At the same time, she made it clear: “We are not yet at the end of the road when it comes to the rule of law in Poland.”
After months of disputes with the Polish government, the EU Commission had previously agreed on a plan for disbursing the aid. The country can hope for 23.9 billion euros in grants and an additional 11.5 billion euros in loans. Poland submitted its construction plan in May 2021.
In order to receive money from the EU’s so-called Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), member states must submit a plan with investment and reform projects, which is supposed to be assessed by the Commission within two months. However, approval of the Polish plan has been postponed. Von der Leyen initially called for extensive reforms of the Polish judicial system in order to restore the independence of the judges.
After a long dispute, the government in Warsaw recently introduced a law to change the judicial system in parliament. The amendment provides for the controversial disciplinary body, which can punish and dismiss any judge and public prosecutor, to be abolished and replaced by another body.
The first chamber of parliament, the Sejm, approved the bill at the end of May. The second chamber, the Senate, still has a few proposed changes. The Sejm still has to vote on this in the third reading.