Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s main opposition grouping, the centrist Civic Coalition (KO), has said that the day after the general election, he will travel to Brussels and unblock the country’s post-pandemic recovery funding.
Poles will vote in a general election on October 15, which will pit the governing Law and Justice party against KO.
Poland is due to receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans from the EU’s pandemic relief fund under its National Recovery Plan (KPO).
But Brussels has said that before these funds can be unlocked Poland must meet a series of rule-of-law ‘milestones,’ including full compliance with an EU court ruling requiring Poland to change its rules for disciplining judges.
Speaking on Sunday in the coastal resort of Sopot, Tusk highlighted that Poland is the only EU member state to not yet have received a single euro from the bloc’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, but he would rectify this.
“Here in Sopot, my native Sopot, I make this solemn promise, that the day after the election, after the victory, I will go and unblock this money, and we will all feel it,” Tusk said.
“There are so many scandals, so much theft, such a mess, that almost everybody has waved goodbye to this huge Polish money, which Mr (deputy prime minister and ruling party leader Jaroslaw – PAP) Kaczynski and Mr (justice minister Zbigniew – PAP) Ziobro have blocked; I emphasise Polish money… which has not reached Poland but for which Poles will pay,” Tusk said. “Because the EU as a whole had to borrow this money, so the member states jointly and severally will have to pay off this money, all the states.”
He went on to accuse Kaczynski and Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, of lying that the money was already working and that everything would be ok. “Nothing will be ok,” he said, “if they continue to govern.”
Pointing out that Italy had already received and spent well over a quarter of a trillion zloty from the EU, Tusk argued that “a little good will, competence, is sufficient for that money to once again start to benefit each and every one of us” and that the cost-of-living crisis would be to some extent alleviated if the EU money were unblocked.