Brussels rewards new Polish government for pro-EU course

Plenary session - European Council and Commission statements - Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019

The European Commission has awarded billions in payments to the Polish government of the new pro-European Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Brussels wants to support the pro-EU course of the new Polish regime by paying out the previously retained premiums and subsidies. 

The European Commission has decided to release €137 billion for Poland. These funds had been held up due to concerns about the rule of law and democracy in the country. The decision marks a new phase in relations between the EU and Poland, after years of tensions over the rule of law. Poland is the largest recipient of EU funding.

The decision to release the frozen funds comes after months of negotiations and political pressure. The European Commission has repeatedly expressed concern about the situation in Poland, in particular about breaches of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Poland's previous PiS government has always denied these allegations and claims it is acting within the limits of the law.

The European Commission's move is seen as a sign of confidence in the new Polish government under Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Tusk is known as a pro-European politician and promised in his election campaign to strengthen ties with the EU. His government has already introduced several reforms to address Brussels' concerns.

The European Commission's decision is also a recognition of the political shift that has taken place in Poland. In last year's elections, Poland's divided opposition formed a joint list of candidates, led by Tusk. This unity has helped create a political environment more favorable to closer ties with the EU.

While the release of the funds has been welcomed by the Polish government and pro-European forces, some critics are concerned that the decision was taken too quickly. They point out that there are still concerns about the rule of law and democracy in Poland, and that the EU should have applied more pressure to enforce concrete reforms before releasing the funds.