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National Rally leads in French parliamentary election poll ahead of first round

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MEPs worry that the Commission’s milestones are not enough and stress that full compliance with EU values is a prerequisite for Recovery and Resilience Facility

funding.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday with 411 votes in favour, 129 against, and 31 abstentions, Parliament expresses grave concerns about theCommission’s endorsementof Poland's €35.4 billion plan under theRecovery and Resilience Facility(RRF).

MEPs once again point to theexisting and continued breachesof the values enshrined inArticle 2 TEU, including of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and deplore that, because of the Polish Government's actions, funding has not yet reached the people of Poland.

No money until compliance with EU law and values is guaranteed

MEPs reiterate that the rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), as well asthe primacy of EU law, cannot be treated as bargaining chips. They point out that compliance with EU values is a prerequisite to have access to the Facility and that the rule of law conditionality mechanism is fully applicable here.

They strongly urge the Council to only approve Poland’s plan once it has fully complied with the provisions of theRRF Regulationon conflicts of interest and fraud and with allEuropean Semestercountry-specific recommendations in the field of the rule of law. Poland also needs to implement all relevant judgments of the ECJ and the ECtHR before its plan can be approved. MEPs also highlight that the key steps towards implementation (milestones) related to the financial interests of the European Union must be fulfilled before a first payment request is submitted.

Commission’s conditions not enough, and will needconsistent monitoring

The closure of the illegal Disciplinary Chamber and the transfer of its functions to another chamber of the Supreme Court is one of the Commission’s key conditions. A robust system will need to be in place to verify this process and a probation period, to ensure that the relevant standards are met.

MEPs regret that the issues regarding theillegitimate Constitutional Tribunaland the illegitimate National Council of the Judiciary are not addressed in the milestones, and call for an infringement procedure. Lastly, they recall that whether or not a country is observing the rule of law and managing EU funds correctly are to be evaluated continuously, including to ensure that reversals are avoided. Based on this monitoring and assessment taking place, the Commission must stop disbursing funds at any point in the RRF cycle, or should even recover them where applicable.

Background

In 2017, the Commission initiated a procedure underArticle 7to address a possible risk of breach of EU values in Poland. Parliament has since repeatedly asked the Council to act, and in 2020warned about further backsliding. MEPs haverepeatedly called for the conditionality mechanismto be activated to protect the EU budget from breaches of the rule of law in Poland. Photo by Laleczki, Wikimedia commons.

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