The European Commission has approved Poland’s long-delayed economic recovery plan that will unlock billions of euros to Warsaw, despite nagging doubts in Brussels about its commitment to legal reforms.

Paolo Gentiloni, economics commissioner, confirmed the commission had approved the plan after a meeting of its college in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon.

The decision went through despite opposing votes from Margrethe Vestager and Frans Timmermans — two of the commission’s three executive vice presidents, according to three people with knowledge.
President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to travel to Warsaw tomorrow to formally confirm the approval, which also needs to be waved through by EU member states.

Warsaw submitted its pitch for a share of the €800bn NextGenerationEU Covid-19 recovery fund in May of last year, under which it would tap €36bn of EU grants and loans.
Its bid has been held up by a protracted dispute with the commission over Polish rules undermining the independence of its judiciary.

Von der Leyen last year set out three key changes Brussels wants to see as conditions for payments under the Polish recovery plan: dismantling a chamber with the power to discipline judges, overhauling of the disciplinary regime and reinstating dismissed judges.

The commission has been locked in talks with Warsaw over the incorporation of those reforms into its recovery and resilience plan (RRP) as conditions for payments.

Some EU officials question whether Poland is truly committed to reforming its rule-of-law regime.

By 4difm

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