Vice-president European Commission, Frans Timmermans © Claudio Centonze / European Union, 2022

The European Commission has today given a positive assessment of Poland’s recovery and resilience plan, an important step towards the EU disbursing €23.9 billion in grants and €11.5 billion in loans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This financing will support the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Poland’s recovery and resilience plan. It will enable Poland to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic and progress with the green and digital transitions, so the EC in a press release.

COVID-crisis

The RRF is the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU, which will provide up to €800 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across the EU. The Polish plan forms part of an unprecedented and coordinated EU response to the COVID-19 crisis, to address common European challenges by embracing the green and digital transitions, to strengthen economic and social resilience and the cohesion of the Single Market.

NextGeneration EU

The corona crisis is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The European Union, through NextGenerationEU – the largest recovery plan ever at €806.9 billion – aims to help its member states emerge stronger from the crisis. The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is at the heart of this plan (€723.8 billion).

The RRF has two goals: first, to pull the European economy out of the recession caused by the corona pandemic. At the same time, it is designed to give an impetus to important investments for the future and measures for rolling out reforms.

The original deadline for submitting a plan was April 30, 2021, but that deadline has since been pushed back to June 2022. Currently, 26 of the 27 member countries have submitted a plan. The plans require member states to spend at least 37 percent of their budgets on climate action and 20 percent on digitalization.

Poland’s plan includes milestones related to important aspects of the independence of the judiciary, which are of particular importance to improve the investment climate and put in place the conditions for effective implementation of the recovery and resilience plan. Poland needs to demonstrate that these milestones are fulfilled before any disbursement under the RRF can be made.

Securing Poland’s green and digital transition

The Commission’s assessment finds that Poland’s plan devotes 42.7% of its total allocation to measures that support climate objectives. The implementation of Poland’s plan is expected to contribute significantly to the decarbonization of the Polish economy by increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, the energy efficiency of the economy, and the independence of Poland’s energy supply.

This includes substantial funding for offshore wind energy plants, as well as key changes to the regulatory framework facilitating the construction of offshore and onshore wind farms. Moreover, the implementation of the plan is expected to support an energy-efficient renovation of buildings, the modernization of railways and bus transport, road safety, and the development of green hydrogen technologies.

Commitments

Poland’s plan contains several reforms to improve the investment climate in Poland. This includes a comprehensive reform of the disciplinary regime applicable to Polish judges which is expected to strengthen important aspects of the independence of the judiciary. Such reform will need to live up to the following commitments:

  • All disciplinary cases against judges will be adjudicated by a court, different from the current Disciplinary Chamber, that complies with EU law requirements in line with the case-law of the Court of Justice and is thus independent, impartial, and established by law;
  • Judges cannot be subject to disciplinary liability for submitting a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice, for the content of their judicial decisions, or for verifying whether another court is independent, impartial, and established by law;
  • Procedural rights of parties in disciplinary proceedings are strengthened;
  • All judges affected by the past Disciplinary Chamber rulings will have the right to have these rulings reviewed without delay by a court that complies with EU requirements and is thus independent, impartial, and established by law.

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