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Post-covid recovery plan: Warsaw makes concessions to reach an agreement with Brussels

Poland has closed negotiations with Brussels on the post-Covid recovery plan, which should allow its rapid unblocking by the European Commission, the Polish government announced on May 13. “Both the team on the Polish side and the team that was created by the President of the European Commission have reached an agreement on the content” of the main points of the agreement, said the spokesperson for the Polish government. Piotr Muller.

According to him, this means that the recovery plan with a total value of around 35 billion euros “should be formally approved” soon, once definitively accepted by Brussels. “Right now, we are waiting for a final step from the European Commission,” added Piotr Müller.

According to the Polish representative to the European Union, Andrzej Sados, the procedure should be completed at the beginning of June. The Polish post-Covid recovery plan has been blocked by Brussels because of conflicts over the supposed state of justice in Poland and in particular the existence of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, a body accused by Brussels of undermining the independence of judges.

On May 13, the European Commission underlined in a tweet that “the Polish plan should include commitments to: dismantle the Disciplinary Chamber, reform the disciplinary regime, and reinstate illegally dismissed judges”.

Budapest agrees to dismantle its controversial disciplinary chamber

According to the Polish Minister of Development and Technology, quoted by the PAP agency, Poland has agreed to dismantle the disciplinary chamber and to introduce “some modification” of the disciplinary regime during the second half of this year. A project submitted by Polish President Andrzej Duda concerning the disciplinary chamber is currently being debated by the Polish Parliament and could be adopted at the end of May. According to the presidential draft, the judges serving in the disciplinary chamber would have the possibility of choosing another chamber of the Supreme Court or retiring. The controversial chamber would be replaced by a new body called the “Chamber of Professional Responsibility”. The disciplinary chamber is part of a major overhaul of the Polish judicial system, seen in the EU as a step back from European democratic standards.

Warsaw, for its part, justified these changes by its desire to fight against corruption within the judiciary. She also refused to respect the decisions of European justice and was sentenced to daily financial penalties for ignoring an order in July from the Court of Justice of the EU to stop the activities of this disciplinary chamber.

Warsaw was also financially sanctioned for failing to comply with a CJEU ruling on the closure of a coal mine.

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