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News2024-02-29

Poland's efforts to restore rule of law pave the way for accessing up to €137 billion in EU funds

Flags of Poland and the European Union
©Shutterstock / Adam Wasilewski

The European Commission has adopted two legal acts that will pave the way for Poland to access up to €137 billion in EU funding. These acts relate to the rule of law reforms that Poland has adopted and the more recent and immediate steps that it has taken to address the milestones to strengthen judicial independence.

Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the Commission has concluded its preliminary assessment of Poland's first payment request. The Commission concludes that Poland has satisfactorily fulfilled the two “super milestones” to strengthen important aspects of the independence of the Polish judiciary through reforming the disciplinary regime for judges. 

It has also satisfactorily fulfilled another super milestone committing Poland to use Arachne, an IT tool that supports Member States' audit and control systems and which therefore ensures the necessary safeguards against fraud. Once confirmed by Member States, today's Commission assessment would allow for the disbursement of €6.3 billion (net of pre-financing) in the coming weeks, from a total of up to €59.8 billion in RRF funds to Poland. 

Following the above-mentioned reforms, the Commission also considers that Poland now fulfils the horizontal enabling condition related to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, allowing Poland to access up to €76.5 billion for its 2021 – 2027 Cohesion Policy - including the ESF+, the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund, European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Home Affairs funding programmes.

The Commission also welcomes the commitment of the Polish government to address the long-standing rule of law concerns, going beyond those regarding the disciplinary regime for judges, as based on the Commission's recommendations. During the General Affairs Council on 20 February 2024, the Polish authorities presented an ambitious Action Plan on the Rule of Law in Poland to address the issues raised by the Commission under the Article 7(1) procedure.

More information is available in a press release and questions and answers online.

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