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    Recovery funds seems to be ‘usurious,’ says Wojcik

    A senior member of Solidary Poland Michał Wójcik described the EU’s terms for grants under its post-pandemic recovery funding as “usurious.”

    Poland is due to get EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in cheap loans from the EU’s post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility.

    But the European Commission (EC) has blocked Poland’s access to the funding due to a rule-of-law dispute, even though the Commission has approved Poland’s National Recovery Plan (KPO), which outlines how the Polish government will spend the money.

    In a bid to get access to the funds, MPs of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have tabled a bill in the Sejm, lower house of parliament, amending the law on the Supreme Court to satisfy one of the rule-of-law “milestones” set by the EC.

    The bill, however, has been opposed by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, leader of Solidary Poland, exacerbating a rift in the collation between PiS and its smaller ally.

    Asked by PAP about the chances of the Supreme Court amendment being adopted, Michał Wójcik, Solidary Poland’s deputy leader and a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said in its current form the amendment was unconstitutional, which was one of the factors contributing to talks about the KPO, which “could be said to be usurious credit.”

    According to Wójcik, with the PLN 107 billion, Warsaw is due in grants, the Polish taxpayer will repay three to five times as much, or PLN 300 billion to PLN 500 billion (EUR 63.9 billion to EUR 106.5 billion).

    “The European Union is deftly hiding all that which will burden us, taking on a certain narrative that it is a grant, that it is something for nothing (…) There is nothing for free in the European Union. The EU has to have a budget that it balances, so the European Union must acquire that money from somewhere. Where? From taxes and higher dues,”

    he said.

    He said Poles were already paying through a tax on plastic, which he said came to PLN 3.2 billion (EUR 680 million) a year.

    “Soon to that will be added 25 per cent from the effects of a tax on the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme – PAP) (…) A third source is increased contributions to the EU. This is very big money,”

    he added.

    Wójcik said the EC’s milestones also contained taxes, including on cars and internal combustion engines.

    “This will burden every citizen,” he said.

    Commenting on Wójcik’s statements, Minister of European Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, said that the amounts quoted “do not match any known projections.”

    He added that the long-term repayment of grants by all member states would start in 2028 and would take 30 years and that Poland’s share in the repayment amount would depend mainly on the pace of the country’s economic growth, difficult to forecast over the next 55 years.

    “However, even in the most hyper-optimistic scenarios of Poland’s rapid economic development, which we would wish, Poland will not incur costs even approaching the amounts mentioned by Minister Wójcik,”

    Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said.

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