Poland will only get the money from the stimulus plan if it reforms its justice system

Poland will only get the money from the stimulus plan if it reforms its justice system

The European Union blames Warsaw for its shortcomings in the independence of the judiciary.

Poland will only receive money from the post-Covid economic recovery plan, which has been blocked for more than 30 billion euros for more than a year due to alleged breaches of independence in Warsaw. to the reforms, the president of the European Commission said on Thursday.

The EU’s approval of the plan on Wednesday was “important“But it was only a”first step, because the money will be paid when the reforms (…) are in placeSaid Ursula von der Leyen during a visit to Warsaw. «Approval of this plan is linked to Poland’s clear commitments on the independence of the judiciary.She pointed out.

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The President of the Commission acknowledged that “a new law under review in the Polish parliament would dismantle some aspects of the disciplinary mechanism, although the opposition believes it does not go far enough». «We are not at the end of the road when it comes to the rule of law in PolandSaid Ursula von der Leyen. The head of the European executive had set three conditions for the Polish plan: the current disciplinary chamber will be “deleted and replacedBy an independent tribunal, the disciplinary regimeneeds to be reformedAnd controversial disciplinary offensesshould be deleted».

In addition, all judges affected by the decisions of the disciplinary chamber will have the right to have their case examined by the new chamber, she said. «A first payment will only be possible when the new law comes into force and fulfills all the conditions of our contractShe explained. The validation of the plan, amounting to 35.4 billion euros for Poland, on Wednesday caused a squeak in the teeth of the European executive and gave rise to an infrequent vote in Poland. of the Commission.

Brussels under pressure

Brussels was under pressure to endorse the needs of Poland, which has the largest number of Ukrainian refugees in the EU (around 3.5 million) and serves as a logistics center for weapons sent to Ukraine by the EU and the United States. The Union also hopes to lift Warsaw’s veto on the transposition into European law of the 15% minimum tax on the profits of multinationals, a priority of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Brussels’ demands have recently led to announcements on the Polish side. The suspension of the first of the six judges prosecuted for their criticism of judicial reforms has been lifted. The lower house of the Polish parliament also voted last week to abolish the chamber and the disciplinary system. But opposition to the ruling populist nationalist party (PiS) and judges ‘associations believe the bill does not meet Brussels’ demands.

The Senate, which is controlled by the centrist opposition, made changes to the law on Wednesday, including voting on the annulment of all decisions taken by the controversial disciplinary chamber and the reinstatement of suspended judges. The amended text will now return to the lower house. The Polish stimulus plan envisages a total of 49 major reforms and 53 major investments. Nearly 43% of the plan goes to climate goals, while 21% goes to digitization goals.

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