EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) is expected to promise Poland the release of aid from the Corona reconstruction fund during a visit to Warsaw on Thursday. According to information from European circles, the Commission is likely to approve the payment of the 36 billion euros to Poland at its meeting on Wednesday. So far, Brussels has blocked the sum because of Polish violations of the independence of the judiciary.
For more than a year, the Commission has withheld funds for Poland, which are intended to help member countries cushion the consequences of the Corona crisis. But given the approximately 3.5 million refugees from Ukraine who Poland took in, the commission has come under pressure.
Brussels had attached three conditions to the release of the Corona aid money: In addition to the reinstatement of unlawfully dismissed judges, the EU called on Poland to dissolve the disciplinary chamber at the Supreme Court and to reform the disciplinary system of the judiciary. The controversial disciplinary body, which could punish and dismiss judges, was at the center of the conflict over the judicial reforms of the national-conservative Polish government that had been going on for years.
Last week, the Polish parliament then decided to abolish the disciplinary chamber. However, critics from the opposition and judges’ associations complain that the abolition law does not address Brussels’ concerns about political influence on the judiciary in Poland.
Poland seems to have taken another step towards Brussels. Last week, one of the six dismissed judges who criticized the judicial reforms had his dismissal overturned.
In mid-May, Warsaw announced an agreement with the EU. However, von der Leyen replied in a letter to the European Parliament that Poland had to prove that it had met all the conditions before the “entire transfer” of the Corona aid was made. And the Vice-President of the Commission, Vera Jourova, emphasized that the fulfillment of the requirements was evaluated “very strictly”.
After the Commission’s expected commitment, the EU member states still have to agree.
More to come