Warsaw, Jan 20 (IANS) European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders held discussions with the new Polish government on judicial reforms that could unlock tens of billions of euros worth of EU funding blocked by the Commission.
During Friday’s visit, Reynders met with Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski, Minister of Justice Adam Bodnar, Minister of EU Affairs Adam Szlapka, and heads of the Sejm and Senate Committees on European Affairs.
The suspension of payments from the bloc’s post-Covid recovery fund and cohesion funds, worth tens of billions of euros, was due to EU concerns over the rule of law in Poland, Xinhua news agency reported.
The problem stems from a deep overhaul of the judiciary carried out by the previous nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) cabinet, which the EU said damaged democratic checks and balances and demanded a restoration of the rule of law.
Since it came into office last December, the new government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk has prioritised getting the EU funds unlocked.
On Friday, Reynders was briefed on the latest initiatives undertaken by Polish authorities to restore the rule of law and constitutional order in the country, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sikorski reiterated the government’s commitment to reforms, and said the Commission should consider this determination when weighing the possibility of fully unblocking EU funding for Warsaw.
The parties also discussed EU plans regarding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, including the possibility of utilising frozen Russian assets to support the reconstruction efforts in Ukraine, the Ministry’s statement said.