36 billion euros, including 23.9 billion in grants and 12.1 billion in cheap loans – this is the money that Poland requested in the national reconstruction plan that it sent to Brussels at the beginning of May.

It is about helping the European Union to reduce the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. So the so-called reconstruction fund European UnionUnder which the union intends to mobilize up to 750 billion euros. If Poland wants and needs it, it can ask Brussels for up to 57 billion in total. The only requirement is that you submit a KPO with details of how you intend to spend the money. The plan must be approved by the Commission and the Council of the European Union.

The problem is that the Polish KPO has been waiting for the green light from the European Commission for eight months, so far we have not received anything. Why is the commission still late? He says it directly: the reason is the Polish problems with the rule of law.

I hope we can come to an agreement with Poland, but so is reform condition no (necessary condition)”- She said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the end of October. It is a reform in which the PiS government will appear to implement the latest rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union, including the liquidation of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court.

The government insists that it has already “announced” to the commission that there will be such a reform. But they won’t show it until Brussels mobilizes the money. But the fact is that Zbigniew Ziobro, the author of court reforms, is against any “concessions” to the European Union. PiS does not want to mess with it, because without the rabbis, it will lose the majority in the House of Representatives.

See also  Putin wants a security guarantee for Russia in the western direction

So we have a wrestling between Poland and the European Union and we are forced to watch how they govern They are trying so hard Ask for at least some money. no effect. While Poland waits, other countries are already benefiting from EU aid. Everything indicates that we will be waiting.

Most of the European Union benefits from the fund

When was the last time We summarized itThose who received funds from the Reconstruction Fund – in August 2021 – are named eight of the 27 EU countries: France, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Belgium and Portugal. Since then, the first ten ancestors have received:

  • Germany (2.25 billion euros),
  • Denmark (201 million)
  • Cyprus (157 million),
  • Latvia (237 million)
  • Slovenia (231 million)
  • Croatia (818 million)
  • Czech Republic (915 million),
  • Austria (450 million)
  • Slovakia (822.7 million)
  • and Romania (1.8 billion).

The amounts given are 13 percent. Amount declared in KPO. The rest of the money will be disbursed in tranches when countries demonstrate that they are achieving their targets in line with the EU’s long-term goals. In November, Spain applied for the next tranche – €10 billion -. It was initially approved by the European Commission in early December.

Of the remaining nine countries, four have received commission and council approval and are just waiting to sign prepayment agreements: Estonia, Finland, Malta and Ireland.

What about the others?

  • Only the Netherlands has yet to send a KPO. There is an interim government that cannot agree on the necessary reforms.
  • Bulgaria – also due to unrest with the government – sent the KPO only in October and is waiting for the decision of the Commission and the Council;
  • Sweden handed over the plan at the end of May, but improved it three times when there was a crisis in power and the collapse of the government.
See also  William Barr's exit is bad news for Trump's hopes of an 11-hour amnesty | William Barr

Apart from them, Poland and Hungary also do not have consent, but for completely different reasons.

Poland and Hungary problems

The PiS government sent the KPO relatively early – May 3, 2021.

Even in early summer it seemed that the European Commission would accept him without any problems. However, in mid-July, major rulings of the International Federation of Journalists were made about the Polish courts, and the referees began to outdo each other in statements that they did not intend to comply with them. In addition, on the orders of Nowogrodzka, the Constitutional Court of Julia Brzesniesska ruled in subsequent rulings that the decisions and rulings of Luxembourg regarding the administration of justice in Poland are inconsistent with the Constitution.

As we wrote at OKO.press, undermining the primacy of EU law through the TK puppet is a blow to the heart of the union. Therefore, Brussels demanded to impose monetary fines on Poland for ignoring the provisions of Luxembourg. So far, CJEU has given us €1m a day for every day without repairs.

The Commission also used its only direct leverage tool: money from the Reconstruction Fund.

She said the provisions regarding the introduction of the fund impose an obligation on member states to implement the recommendations of the European Semester. In the case of Poland, one of them is ensuring the independence of the judiciary. Ursula von der Leyen made it clear that the PiS government should intervene in court reform, including Disciplinary Chamber Liquidation of KPO.

So far, nothing like this is likely to happen, and Poland is likely not to get European Commission approval before the end of 2021. As Gazeta Wyborcza writes, it means that

We will absolutely lose the possibility of receiving funds in the form of a down payment. The first batch will only be available in the summer of 2022, and only if the PiS government demonstrates climate and digital reforms.

The situation is similar in Hungary, where the commission was suspicious of insufficiently robust anti-corruption mechanisms. In addition, a law was recently passed prohibiting the promotion of “gay ideology” there, which was also opposed by the European Commission. Thus, it is unlikely that money from the fund will flow to the government of Viktor Orban before the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2022.

Maria Pankowska
Maria Pankowska

Journalist, graduate of ILS UW and College of Europe. She gained experience among others at the European Commission, the United Nations University in Tokyo, and earlier at the Polish Institute of Diplomacy.