Brussels (Brussels Morning) Five political groups in the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to freeze Poland’s access to EU recovery funds.
The five have written to the EC urging that it freeze the money until such time as Poland recognises the primacy of EU law over national constitutions, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The EP groups are the European People’s Party, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, the Greens–European Free Alliance and The Left in the European Parliament. Between them, they account for more than three quarters of sitting MEPs.
In their letter, they contend that the Polish government cannot be trusted to meet the obligations required to access EU funds.
“We demand that the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, refrains from approving the Polish recovery plan until all conditions under the Recovery and Resilience Regulation are met”, they stressed.
Disagreement over judicial reform
Friction between the Commission and Poland has been mounting since the Law and Order (PiS) won the Polish parliamentary election in 2015. Since then, the government implemented a reform of the judiciary, which the EC maintains erodes the independence of courts.
The Commission has sued Poland at EU court-level and won, but the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled subsequently that the Polish constitution has primacy over EU laws. The EC rejects this adamantly, pointing out that it undermines the legal foundation of the EU.
Poland stands to lose access to some 23.9 billion euro in grants as well as 12.1 billion in affordable loans from the bloc’s recovery fund that was set up to enable member states to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to EU rules, member states have to respect the rule of law in order to get the money. The EP groups’ letter adds to the pressure on the EC to block Poland’s access to EU funds until the member state acknowledges and complies with the primacy of the bloc’s rules.