Money for reforms: EU releases aid for Poland

During her visit to Poland EU Commission President von der Leyen pledged to pay out the 35 billion euros in Covid recovery aid which had hitherto been blocked. However, she made the money contingent on judicial reform. The Disciplinary Chamber is to be abolished for good, and measures against judges are to be reviewed. The European press remains sceptical for a number of reasons.

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Interia (PL) /

Compromises are worthwhile

Writing on web portal Interia, columnist Robert Walenciak welcomes the EU Commission's conciliatory stance towards Poland:

“On 24 February a fundamental change took place in Europe, and matters that had been important up until then became secondary. When forests are burning, it's not the time to get upset over the loss of a few roses. The top priority today is the unity of the West. And to preserve that unity, it's worth making certain compromises. I believe this is the guiding principle of European action, and it is a sensible one. It should be noted that even Orbán, who is now openly defending Russia's interests, is not being treated as an enemy by Brussels. The focus is on trying to circumvent him rather than putting him in his place.”

Le Monde (FR) /

EU letting itself be duped

The EU has allowed itself to be blackmailed by Poland because of the important role it is playing in the war in Ukraine, Le Monde criticises:

“Before 24 February, the start of the war in Ukraine, the PiS's isolationist foreign policy was conspicuously anti-Ukrainian. ... The Russian aggression that triggered Warsaw's about-face on Kyiv presents the EU with a curious paradox: the very government in Europe that is playing a key role in delivering Western aid to Ukraine is the one whose nature and practices are most hostile to European values. Member states would lose a lot if they forgot this.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Critical judges will remain vulnerable

The EU is undermining its own values and standards, writes De Volkskrant:

“The demands the Commission is making in exchange for releasing Poland's billions from the Covid fund seem harsh. ... But it is questionable whether they will be enough. Polish judges are already warning that the government will seek other ways to silence critical judges. By the time this becomes clear, the European billions will have already been spent and be impossible to reclaim. Brussels has used up its most important means of exerting pressure on Poland to adhere to the European community of values: money.”