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Criticism from the Court of Auditors

Question écrite de M. Georg MAYER - Commission européenne

Question de M. Georg MAYER, M. Harald VILIMSKY,

Diffusée le 20 mars 2024

Subject: Criticism from the Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors examined the Commission’s new instruments designed to protect the financial interests of the EU. It concluded that, rather unusually, strict action was being taken only against Hungary for breaches of the rule of law and that no other country was being treated in the same way. What is particularly concerning here is that the President of the Commission can flip-flop and announce from one day to the next whether a country is acting contrary to or in accordance with the rule of law.

With regard to Poland, however, the Commission believes that the shortcomings in the judicial system have now been rectified, even though the necessary reform is actually still stuck in the parliamentary procedure.

1. Has the Commission applied an unfair and stricter standard to Hungary than to other Member States?

2. In light of the above, could it be said that the Commission’s assessment of Poland lacks a legal basis and is therefore incompatible with the rule of law?

3. Is the Commission giving the new Polish government, which is not critical of the EU, the benefit of the doubt and is it therefore planning to release the EUR 137 billion that had been frozen?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 5 juin 2024

Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission (6 June 2024)

The Commission treats all Member States on an equal basis. As for all Member States, the Commission has thoroughly assessed the information received from the Hungarian and Polish authorities against, insofar as applicable, the conditions under the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (RRF Regulation) (1), the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) (2) and the Conditionality Regulation (3).

In December 2023, after a thorough assessment, the Commission considered that Hungary had taken the measures it committed to take to consider that the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is fulfilled regarding judicial independence. This unblocked part of the cohesion policy funding.

Regarding Poland’s first payment request under the RRF, the Commission concluded, as per the RRF Regulation, that the relevant milestones were satisfactorily fulfilled following the measures adopted by the Polish authorities.

This decision paved the way for the disbursement of the first tranche of RRF funds. Future disbursements will be conditional on Poland fulfilling the relevant milestones and targets.

The Commission also concluded, in accordance with the CPR, that the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is fulfilled, granting access to cohesion policy funding, the Maritime and Fisheries, and Home Affairs funds.

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2021/241 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, OJ L 57, 18.2.2021.

2 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions, OJ L 231, 30.6.2021.

3 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2092 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union

budget, OJ L 433I, 22.12.2020.

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