The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that Poland will not receive any money from the National Reconstruction Plan unless it restores independence of its judiciary during a debate on Thursday at Princeton University.
The EC chief was asked about the money allocated for Poland from the Next Generation EU fund and what actions the EU can introduce to help Polish citizens get rid of the current “undemocratic” government. The woman asking the question also stated that she was grateful to the European Union for not giving any money to Poland as she sees this helping in next year’s elections.
Answering the question Ursula von der Leyen thanked for the opportunity to clarify the commission’s stance toward Poland and Hungary.
She stated that the problem the European Commission sees with the Polish government is “that we (the EC) are deeply convinced that the independence of the judiciary is no more given.”
Ms von der Leyen also claimed that the European Commission cannot change the Polish government, as this is a task for Polish citizens, “but we (the EC) have to protect the rule of law in Poland”.
Speaking 2 days ahead of the Italian election, Ursula von der Leyen, commented on the prospect of a Meloni-Salvini government:— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) September 23, 2022
“If things go in the difficult direction in Italy… I have spoken about Hungary and Poland earlier. The European Commission has the tools needed”. pic.twitter.com/4U3d9X9FB7
In mid-August the Polish government responded to the EC regarding the Disciplinary Chamber, stating that Poland would continue its judiciary’s reforms, and furthermore address the issue of judges’ responsibility. The Council of Ministers moreover informed the EC about plans to liquidate the Chamber in its present form.
In early June 2022, Poland’s parliament voted in favour of a bill that would replace the disciplinary chamber for judges with a new body, clearing the way for approving Poland's KPO.
In turn, the European Council suspended the KPO until Poland agrees to withdraw proposed reforms of its judiciary system, which the EU considers to be too political.
The KPO was originally planned for 2021-27 and is worth up to EUR 35.4 bn, which includes EUR 23.9 bn in grants and EUR 11.5 bn in loans.