MEPs want vote of confidence in Ursula von der Leyen on COVID cash decision for Poland

Three senior deputies have asked President Ursula von der Leyen’s European Commission for a vote of no confidence.

Renew Europe members said on Monday they would file a motion after the Commission gave the green light to Poland’s recovery plan from COVID-19.

The blockade had initially withheld money from Warsaw for the country’s failure to respect the rule of law, but then approved Poland’s € 35.4 billion recovery plan last week.

The announcement represented a lull in a long-standing stalemate between Brussels and Poland over controversial judicial reforms.

But the turnaround has generated criticism, including from the liberal group Renew Europe in the European Parliament.

Prominent figures from the political group say that Poland has not yet managed to fully protect the rule of law by reforming its disciplinary regime for judges.

Von der Leyen’s no-confidence motion was signed Monday by group vice-president Luis Garciano, Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt.

“We will withdraw our support … [if the Commission] continues to refuse to seriously apply the rule of law conditionality rules, “said Verhofstadt.

“The Commission is fully aware that the remedies announced by the Polish authorities are purely cosmetic,” he said in a letter to members of Renew Europe.

“The Commission’s decision last week to approve the Polish recovery plan is not in line with this task,” added in’t Veld in a statements.

“The ‘goals’ do not live up to the requirements of the European Court of Justice and do not address the refusal of the Polish authorities to recognize the primacy of EU law and the authority of the Court of Justice”.

“President Von der Leyen … has created a serious political problem,” wrote the Dutch MEP.

The no-confidence motion will first have to be signed by only 10% of the 705 seats in the European Parliament before it can be put to a vote.

But the motion of censure must then be passed by a significant two-thirds majority to oust the Commission.

During internal deliberations on the approval of Poland’s recovery plan, five EU Commissioners voted against or expressed reservations on the executive’s decision.