There is no National Recovery Plan, but PiS wants to take the monitoring committee
No representative of any non-governmental organisation supporting the authorities was chosen for the National Recovery Plan Monitoring Committee, which is supposed to supervise the spending of EU money. So the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy decided to re-select its members from the beginning.
by Bartosz T. Wieliński and Przemysław Jedlecki
The article was published in Polish at Gazeta Wyborcza.
The 34 billion euros written into Poland’s National Recovery Plan are still not in place and it is unknown when they will be. One of the conditions for receiving the money is for Poland to appoint a National Recovery Plan Monitoring Committee. Its task is to supervise the implementation of the reforms and investments that the EU is subsidising with the money from the Recovery Fund.
The Committee is also supposed to monitor the transparency of the procedures, equal access to information and equal treatment of entities. The respective Act was adopted by the Sejm at the end of April. Six months later, despite being considered a so-called milestone, namely a condition that will block the disbursement of money if not fulfilled, the Committee has not been appointed.
National Recovery Plan Monitoring Committee: Contest repeated and cancelled
The Committee is to consist of several dozen people. These are to be representatives of ministries, the world of academia, local authorities, trade unions and employers, as well as public benefit organisations. Four places were reserved for representatives of organisations promoting fundamental rights and the battle against discrimination.
The government wanted to fill precisely these positions in June with its own people. Members were nominated by the Council for Public Benefit Activity and the Council for Dialogue with the Young Generation. These are institutions that are subordinated to Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński. Independent non-governmental organisations protested against the selection. The contest was repeated in August. Representatives of the National Federation of Polish NGOs, the Polish Disability Forum, the Watchdog Poland Civic Network and the Campaign Against Homophobia were selected for the Committee. These are completely independent organisations, often critical of the authorities.
NGOs associated with the United Right government protested against these arrangements in September. The Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy, Grzegorz Puda, decided to cancel the contest.
The organisations that filed the protest included the Koliber Association (Piotr Mazurek, minister in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery, the government commissioner on youth policy, is associated with this association), the Polish Non-Governmental Initiatives Confederacy (Jerzy Kwaśniewski, head of Ordo Iuris, is active in this organisation), and three associations with which Petros Tovmasyan, an Upper Silesian activist of Adam Bielan’s Republican Party, is associated. The PiS government has been very generous to Tovmasyan’s organisations, which have received more than PLN 8 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Justice Fund and the National Freedom Institute.
‘Federations of NGOs, people from Warsaw who know each other well, acknowledged that they would monitor the National Recovery Plan. I believe everyone should be given such an opportunity,’ Tovmasyan tells ‘Wyborcza’.
National Recovery Plan for Poland: The minister will decide
Meanwhile, Minister Puda explains that he acceded to the objection because the selection of Committee members gave rise to numerous ‘formal and procedural doubts’.
‘After all, the Minister did not raise any objections to the election of the members of the Committee. He did not even try to confirm the allegations. He did not meet with anyone, he did not send a single letter on the matter,’ says Karolina Dreszer-Smalec of the National Federation of Polish NGOs.
‘It is alleged, for instance, that there was no information about the contest. Whereas the Ministry of Development Funds refused to post it in its website,’ adds Marzena Błaszczyk, member of Watchdog Poland’s management board.
Minister Puda will now choose the members of the Monitoring Committee.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz