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Tusk: Poland must do all it takes to unblock EU funds

Poland risks losing access to frozen European Union funds if it delays the process of forming a new government, according to Reuters.

Opposition leader Donald Tusk made this statement after the country’s president decided on Thursday not to appoint a new prime minister.

The Law and Justice Party (PiS) came first in the 15 October election but failed to win an absolute majority and is unlikely to find a partner to form a new coalition. The three pro-European parties have said they are ready to form a cabinet headed by Tusk and urged President Andrzej Duda not to delay his appointment. Duda said he would convene the first session of the newly elected parliament on 13 November, but did not say who would form the new government.

At a press conference in Brussels, meeting with European Union leaders in an attempt to unblock the funding, Tusk said:

“If the president quickly acknowledges the reality that there is a majority in parliament and allows it to create a government, I guarantee that it will mean a quick payment of funds to Poland.

The EU has suspended Poland’s access to €35.4bn in grants and loans from the bloc’s recovery fund until Warsaw rolls back reforms that critics say undermine the independence of the country’s judiciary.

The same concerns prevent Poland from accessing €76.5bn of EU cohesion funds designed to raise living standards in the EU’s poorer regions.

Duda, a PiS ally, said a tentative date for the lower house of parliament to meet was the earliest it could be done. He did not say who he would appoint as prime minister, as both Tusk and PiS’s Mateusz Morawiecki are running for the role. He said:

“Today we have two serious candidates for the position of prime minister, two political groups that claim to have a majority and have their own candidate for prime minister. This is a new situation. There has never been a situation where one party won and the others claim that they will have the majority.”

The President has 30 days from election day to call the first session of the new parliament and then 14 days to nominate a candidate for prime minister.

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