Commission to unblock over €100B in EU funds for Poland

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The European Commission will next week start unblocking payments of up to €137 billion in EU funds earmarked for Poland that are currently frozen due to issues related to the rule of law.

“Next week the College [of Commissioners] will come forward on two decisions on European funds that are currently blocked for Poland,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Friday during a press conference in Warsaw.

“These decisions will free up to €137 billion for Poland,” von der Leyen said, adding the money would come from the EU’s recovery plan as well as cohesion funds.

The announcement comes amid efforts from Poland’s newly elected government, which has sought to repair its relationship with Brussels under pro-European Prime Minister Donald Tusk, to restore the rule of law in the country.

At a meeting of European affairs ministers in Brussels earlier this week, Poland’s Justice Minister Adam Bodnar unveiled an “action plan” aiming to end a long-standing rule of law dispute between the EU and Warsaw that started under the previous nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government.

The plan is designed to “restore constitutional order in Poland and solve the rule-of-law crisis,” Bodnar told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.

Von der Leyen on Friday said the plan was “a powerful statement,” and hailed the Tusk government’s push to restore the independence of the judiciary.

“It is a clear roadmap for Poland and your efforts are decisive,” the Commission president told Tusk, who was also present at the joint press conference, along with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.