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National Reconstruction Plan. Milestones – the conditions of the European Commission that must be met by Poland in order to get money

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The President of the European Commission will visit Warsaw on Thursday. He will meet President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Ursula von der Leyen’s visit is related to the EC’s approval of the National Reconstruction Plan. However, billions of euros will not go to Poland unless very specific conditions are met in the matter of compliance with the rule of law. This is called milestones that Poland must achieve if it wants to get huge money. We present a list of them.

The first point of the visit of the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to Warsaw – according to the program published on Wednesday by the Government Information Center – will be a meeting with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister – the start is scheduled for 15.30.

Then at A meeting of the Prime Minister and the head of the European Commission with President Andrzej Duda is planned at the Belweder Palace at 16:25, and a joint press conference of the president, prime minister and the head of the European Commission, which is to be held at PSE SA, in Konstancin-Jeziorna, is scheduled for 17.25.

Von der Leyen arrives after announcing Wednesday afternoon that the National Reconstruction Plan has been approved, which could provide Poland with billions of euros in aid. For this to happen, however, Poland must meet “milestones” – issues that the European Commission requires of the government to respect the rule of law.

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Ursula von der LeyenOLIVIER HOSLET / PAP / EPA

“Milestones” – demands of the European Commission towards Poland

Maciej Sokołowski, the correspondent of TVN24 in Brussels, explains that the European Commission clearly emphasizes that the implementation “milestones” it is a prerequisite for any disbursement of funds from the Reconstruction Fund and clearly defines it too deadline for introducing reforms – end of the second quarter of 2022.

Additionally The EC also wants to change the rules of the Sejmthat it would not be possible to introduce laws in Poland without consultation and in accelerated procedures, as has been the case so far.

The conditions relating to the judiciary are set out in the annex to the EC decision which gives a positive opinion to the KPO, in the so-called Component (component) F named – Improving the quality of institutions and conditions for the introduction of KPO.

In point F1.1. Reform strengthening the independence and impartiality of courts, reform should:

and) in all matters relating to judges, including disciplinary and judicial immunities, define the scope of the jurisdiction of a Supreme Court Chamber other than the existing Disciplinary Chamber, fulfilling the criteria of Article 19 of the Treaty. All these cases should be examined by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law, while the discretionary power to designate a disciplinary court with first instance jurisdiction in cases of common court judges will be limited.

b) define the scope of disciplinary liability of judges, providing them with the right to send questions to the CJEU, such questions cannot be the basis for disciplinary proceedings

c) while judges may be held liable for professional misconduct, including obvious and serious breaches of the law, it must be specified that the content of court decisions cannot be classified as a disciplinary offense

d) ensure, within the framework of court procedures, the possibility of verifying whether a judge complies with the requirements of independence, impartiality and being legally constituted in accordance with Article 19 of the Treaty if there are serious doubts as to this

e) strengthen the procedural guarantees and powers of the parties in disciplinary proceedings concerning judges by (i) hearing cases within a reasonable time (ii) defining the territorial scope of the courts hearing the cases (iii) ensuring the rights of defense and a significant time for its preparation.

The reform should enter into force by the end of the second quarter of 2022.

In point F.1.2. is determined reform to remedy the situation of judges affected by decisions of the Disciplinary Chamber. It should show that:

and) cases already dealt with by the Disciplinary Chamber should be re-examined by a court fulfilling the requirements of Article 19 of the Treaty, in line with the reform described above.

b) the act should introduce a time limit of 3 months for commencing a case with the motion of a judge wishing to reconsider it and 12 months for resolving it.

c) cases currently pending before the Disciplinary Chamber should be referred to the new Chamber in line with the reforms mentioned.

The reform should enter into force by the end of the second quarter of 2022.

Additionally – as Maciej Sokołowski points out – both of the above-mentioned reforms must be completed before the first payment application sent to the European Commission and are a condition for disbursements from the Reconstruction Fund.

In point F.2.1.improving the law-making process – The European Commission points to the need entry into force of the amendments to the Regulations of the Sejm, Senate and Council of Ministers, which they will introduce:

and) compulsory impact assessment and public consultation of bills proposed by deputies and senators

b) limiting the use of accelerated procedures to well-defined exceptional cases only.

In the KPO, which is to support the economy after the pandemic, Poland is asking for EUR 23.9 billion available under grants io EUR 11.5 billion from the loan part.

Author:Maciej Sokołowski, asty, adso

Main photo source: OLIVIER HOSLET / PAP / EPA

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