11 Aug 2022
Poland may hit back at the EU should the country not receive its share of pandemic recovery funds, following reports Brussels said it was not happy with Poland’s latest judicial reforms.
The €35 billion Covid recovery grants and loans were placed on hold following disagreements over reforms in Poland which, according to the EU, undermine democratic standards.
The European Commission approved Poland’s funds back in June, but EC head Ursula von der Leyen told Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that more needed to be done on the rule of law, Reuters news agency reports.
However, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party stated the reforms aimed to increase efficiency and rejected interfering with the courts for political gain.
"If there is an attempt to block the payment ... and the European Commission tries to pressure us, then we have no choice but to pull out all the cannons in our arsenal and respond with barrage fire," said Krzysztof Sobolewski, PiS secretary general.
Although the Law and Justice party hasn’t specified what actions it may be contemplating, member of the conservative United Poland party, Michal Wojcik indicated Poland may veto certain decisions made by the European Union.
"Since we are dealing with people who do not comply with the terms of the contract... I think you have to play hard," he told Polsat News.
Poland implemented a law in May that superseded a controversial disciplinary chamber for judges with a new organisation.
However, Ursula von der Leyen said at the end of last month that the new law didn’t give judges the right to “question judicial appointments without facing disciplinary proceedings”, Reuters reports, which would need to be resolved in order to acquire the EU funds.
"This issue ... has to be addressed for the recovery and resilience plan commitments to be met ... No official assessment has been made, because there's no payment request made by Poland so far," said Commission spokesperson Arianna Podesta.