Poland gets EU greenlight for first €5B payment of recovery funds

The European Commission on Tuesday greenlighted Poland’s revised recovery and resilience plan, worth almost €60 billion.


The new Polish recovery and resilience plan (RRF) combines €34.5 billion in low-interest loans and €25.3 billion in grants, which are meant to be disbursed in several installments across the next years. 

The revision takes into account RePower EU, the bloc’s plan to slash imports of Russian fossil fuels and accelerate the green transition, put forward after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Poland’s original RRF plan was worth €35.4 billion.

Despite the upward revision, the money remains strictly linked to the conditions imposed last year, also known as “super milestones.”

The conditions are meant to undo the damage caused by the disciplinary chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court, which was controversially empowered to punish magistrates according to the content of their verdicts.

However, the Commission’s new positive assessment includes the option to release €5.1 billion in pre-financing before the end of the year, as long as the 27 member states give their approval. This tranche is notably not linked to the so-called milestones.

If released, the €5.1 billion would represent the first payment of recovery funds for Poland, which has been so far unable to tap into the bloc’s €750-billion common pool over persistent concerns about judicial independence and the separation of powers.

The back and forth between Brussels and the hard-right government in Warsaw played out for months in public view and reached the European Court of Justice. In a ruling delivered in June, the court said Poland’s controversial reform undermined the right to have access to an independent and impartial judiciary, effectively striking it down.

The Commission’s decision, announced on Tuesday afternoon, coincides with the potential return of Donald Tusk as Polish prime minister.

In the general elections held last month, Tusk’s Civic Platform (KO), together with two other opposition parties, won more than 54% of the votes and secured a majority of 248 seats in the 460-seat Sejm, the lower house of the Parliament.

Tusk has made unlocking the recovery funds one of his top priorities. But his appointment depends on President Andrzej Duda, who has yet to task him with the formation of a coalition government.

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