Updated January 21st, 2024 at 18:09 IST
Polish President criticises the EU for blocking funds
The president emphasised that the move was an attempt to influence the nation's authorities.
Accusation against EU: Polish President Andrzej Duda expressed criticism of the European Commission, accusing it of blocking EU funds as a political manoeuvre to coerce changes in Poland's government. Duda emphasised that the move was an attempt to influence the nation's authorities, particularly in response to disputes over court reforms and the rule of law during the term of the previous Law and Justice (PiS) party-led government.
The conflict resulted in the freezing of billions of euros of EU funds earmarked for Poland. Despite the pro-EU stance of the current government, resistance persists from supporters and allies of the former ruling party, including Duda and certain prominent judges.
Duda stated, "I have no doubts about the purpose of blocking the money from the National Recovery Plan by the European Commission. It was a purely political action against the previous Polish authorities," adding that it was an effort to compel changes in Poland's governance.
Open to negotiation
While expressing openness to negotiations, Duda shared that any alterations to the Polish justice system should not involve the verification of judges appointed during his term. The president's remarks came during a press conference in Vilnius.
The European Commission was not immediately available for comment on Duda's statements.
The recent October 15 election marked the end of eight years of PiS rule, with the new government, led by former European Council president Donald Tusk, pledging to restore access to EU funds. In December, the European Commission announced a transfer of 5 billion euros ($5.45 billion) to Warsaw as part of Poland's 60 billion-euro share of the EU's COVID-19 recovery stimulus.
Over the weekend, Polish Funds and Regional Policy Minister Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz reported that Poland has fulfilled the necessary conditions to submit crucial documents, facilitating access to the EU's Structural Funds.
(with Reuters inputs)
Published January 21st, 2024 at 18:09 IST