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English Section

Polish MPs debate key bill needed to unlock EU funds

04.05.2021 13:40
Polish deputies were on Tuesday debating a key bill needed to unlock a stream of cash from Brussels, including money to help the economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Image: Gerd AltmannPixabay
Image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay pixabay.com

The opposition Civic Coalition has called for Tuesday's special sitting of the lower house of parliament to be postponed, demanding a detailed breakdown of how the Polish government plans to spend European Union funds.

But the governing Law and Justice party is determined to press ahead with a vote on the bill.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on deputies to approve the legislation regardless of political divisions.

Poland stands to receive more than EUR 23 billion in subsidies and over EUR 34 billion in loans from the European Union’s multi-billion COVID-19 recovery fund.

EU member states in December gave the green light for the bloc to borrow EUR 750 billion (USD 906 billion) and provide a cash injection for economies left reeling by the coronavirus crisis.

For the ambitious plan to be put into action, all 27 EU member states need to ratify a decision to increase the bloc's resources.

The recovery fund has caused divisions within Poland's ruling United Right coalition, and Law and Justice, the senior coalition partner, has sought the support of opposition groups to get the legislation through parliament.

Solidarna Polska, a conservative junior partner in the governing coalition, has come out against ratifying the recovery plan, concerned that a mechanism tying the payout of EU funds to the observance of the rule of law could be used by Brussels to interfere in Polish domestic affairs.

After negotiations with Morawiecki, Poland's Left opposition grouping has said it would back the government's plan, if it included amendments proposed by the group, including a process to monitor how funds are spent.

The Polish government on Monday submitted the country’s National Recovery Plan, which lays out how it plans to spend money from Brussels, to the European Commission, the bloc's executive.