April 12th, 2024

Top EU official says decisions coming next week on the release of massive funds for Poland

By The Associated Press on February 23, 2024.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The head of the European Union’s powerful Commission announced on Friday in Warsaw that decisions will be taken soon to release billions of euros to Poland, funds frozen by the bloc over the previous Polish government’s anti-EU policies.

Ursula von der Leyen said the decision to release 137 billion euros (about $148 billion) will be made next week in Brussels. She spoke following talks with Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who welcomed the announcement and said the money will be “spent well.”

Tusk had hinted earlier this week that steps his government was taking to reverse the questionable policies of its right-wing predecessors would soon allow for the bloc to release billions of euros of funds for Poland.

Brussels froze pandemic recovery and cohesion funds for Poland amid a standoff with the previous EU-sceptic administration. It also launched a process that could lead to sanctions on any EU member disrespecting the democratic values of the 27-member bloc.

Tusk, a former EU Council chief, hinted this week, ahead of Friday talks with visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, that Poles may hear that day that the tens of billions of euros (dollars) of much-needed funds are being released.

Shortly after Tusk’s pro-EU Cabinet took office in December, Brussels released some 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) for Poland for clean energy projects.

Poland is to hold local elections in April, which could further strengthen the current government’s standing across the country.

Von der Leyen is accompanied on the visit by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who is expected to discuss European security issues and support for Poland’s neighbour, Ukraine, which is fending off Russia’s invasion.

Pro-European coalition of three center-left parties led by Tusk won parliamentary elections Oct.15 and took over in December, succeeding a right-wing government of Law and Justice that had ruled for eight years and introduced changes to the justice system, reproductive rights in Poland and the media that put Warsaw on a collision course with the EU.

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