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Poland fulfills rule of law milestones to unblock EU funding

29 February 2024, 22:45 CET
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Poland fulfills rule of law milestones to unblock EU funding

Tusk - von der Leyen - Photo © European Union 2024

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission moved to unlock some EUR 137 billion of EU funding for Poland Thursday, following efforts made by the Polish government to strengthen the rule of law and judicial independence.

The EU Executive has adopted two legal acts that will pave the way for Poland to access up to €137 billion in EU funding. These acts relate to rule of law reforms Poland adopted and more recent steps to address the milestones to strengthen judicial independence.

"Poland has effectively addressed the concerns raised by the Commission on issues related to rule of law that were blocking the release of cohesion funds," said EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit: "This means that Poland can start claiming reimbursements for investments under cohesion policy and other programmes in the coming weeks."

Under the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the Commission concluded its preliminary assessment of Poland's first payment request, saying Poland had satisfactorily fulfilled the two “super milestones” to strengthen important aspects of the independence of the Polish judiciary through reforming the disciplinary regime for judges. It has also satisfactorily fulfilled another super milestone committing Poland to use Arachne, an IT tool that supports Member States' audit and control systems and which therefore ensures the necessary safeguards against fraud.

Once confirmed by Member States, the Commission assessment would allow for the disbursement of €6.3 billion (net of pre-financing) in the coming weeks, from a total of up to €59.8 billion in RRF funds to Poland.

Following Poland's reforms, the Commission also considers that the country now fulfils the horizontal enabling condition related to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, allowing Poland to access up to €76.5 billion for its 2021 – 2027 Cohesion Policy, European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Home Affairs funding programmes.

The Commission also welcomes the commitment of the Polish government to address the long-standing rule of law concerns, going beyond those regarding the disciplinary regime for judges, as based on the Commission's recommendations. During the General Affairs Council on 20 February 2024, the Polish authorities presented an ambitious Action Plan on the Rule of Law in Poland to address the issues raised by the Commission under the Article 7(1) procedure.

Rule of law and EU funds for Poland - guide

Common Provisions Regulation

Partnership Agreement with Poland – 2021-2027

Poland's Recovery and Resilience Plan website

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