Top EU official says decisions coming next week on the release of massive funds for Poland

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The head of the European Union’s powerful Commission was in Warsaw on Friday for talks with Poland’s new prime minister, Donald Tusk, on restoring pro-EU policies that would allow for the bloc to release billions of euros of funds for the country.

Brussels froze pandemic recovery and cohesion funds for Poland amid a standoff with the previous EU-sceptic administration. It also launched a process that could lead to sanctions on any EU member disrespecting the democratic values of the 27-member bloc.

Tusk, a former EU Council chief, hinted this week, ahead of Friday talks with visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, that Poles may hear that day that the tens of billions of euros (dollars) of much-needed funds are being released.

Shortly after Tusk’s pro-EU Cabinet took office in December, Brussels released some 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) for Poland for clean energy projects.

Poland is to hold local elections in April, which could further strengthen the current government’s standing across the country.

Von der Leyen is accompanied on the visit by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who is expected to discuss European security issues and support for Poland’s neighbour, Ukraine, which is fending off Russia’s invasion.

Pro-European coalition of three center-left parties led by Tusk won parliamentary elections Oct.15 and took over in December, succeeding a right-wing government of Law and Justice that had ruled for eight years and introduced changes to the justice system, reproductive rights in Poland and the media that put Warsaw on a collision course with the EU.

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