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The European Union is to release €137 billion of withheld funds from Poland due to rule of law concerns, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

Next week, the commission “will come forward with two decisions on European funds that are currently blocked for Poland,” von der Leyen said at a press briefing in Warsaw. “These decisions will free up €137 billion for Poland.”

Concerns about judicial reforms under Poland’s previous nationalist government prompted the commission to withhold money from the EU budget that would normally have been spent in Poland.

But in October, the nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS) was ousted by a centrist coalition led by former European Council President Donald Tusk, who has sought to undo the changes PiS made and restore Poland’s EU funding.

At a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, Poland’s new justice minister, Adam Bodnar laid out the new government’s judicial reform plan to member states’ European affairs ministers.

In Warsaw on Friday, von der Leyen told Tusk, “I strongly welcome the action plan that your government presented to the member states this week. It is a powerful statement. It is a clear road map for Poland, and your efforts are decisive.”

She said the €137 billion “will be guaranteed by the European Public Prosecutor. This is great news for the Polish people and for Europe, and this is your achievement.”

Von der Leyen said the money will come from two sources: the EU’s cohesion budget, which pays for regional development, and a separate fund created to help the EU’s economy recover from the effects of Covid-19 restrictions.

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stand together for photos before a meeting in Warsaw. The meeting will also address the ongoing protests by Polish farmers. These are directed against EU requirements for agriculture and competition from cheap agricultural products from Ukraine. Benoit Doppagne/Belga/dpaAlexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stand together for photos before a meeting in Warsaw. The meeting will also address the ongoing protests by Polish farmers. These are directed against EU requirements for agriculture and competition from cheap agricultural products from Ukraine. Benoit Doppagne/Belga/dpa

European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen is pictured during a press conference after her meeting with Poland's Prime Minister in Warsaw. Benoit Doppagne/Belga/dpaEuropean Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen is pictured during a press conference after her meeting with Poland's Prime Minister in Warsaw. Benoit Doppagne/Belga/dpa

European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen is pictured during a press conference after her meeting with Poland’s Prime Minister in Warsaw. Benoit Doppagne/Belga/dpa



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