Poland to send provisional version of recovery plan to Brussels

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WARSAW, April 30 (Reuters) – Poland will send a draft of its National Recovery Plan to Brussels on Friday for consultation with the European Commission, a deputy minister said, but there could be minor changes before a final version is sent in two weeks’ time.

The European Union will borrow 750 billion euros ($907 billion) for a recovery fund to help its members bounce back from the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments in the 27 member states have to submit for approval plans on how they will spend the money .

“We do not rule out minor changes as a result of talks with the European Commission… in two weeks we will formally send it,” said Deputy Minister for Funds and Regional Policy Waldemar Buda.

Poland has around 58 billion euros at its disposal, 23.9 billion euros in grants and 34.2 billion euros in loans.

The most recent version of the plan, published on a government website shortly after Buda spoke, grants provide 2.1 billion euros for modernising the health service and 1.2 billion euros for shortening the supply chain in agriculture.

Through loans, there will be 3.2 billion euros for offshore wind farms and 1.2 billion euros for housing.

The recovery fund has created conflict in Poland’s government and opposition.

United Poland, a junior partner in the governing coalition, is opposed to the plan, which it says could see predominantly CatholicPoland forced to accept liberal policies like gay marriage and become saddled with debt.

Lawmakers will vote on separate legislation essential to the fund, the Own Resources Decision which increases the upper limit for national contributions to the EU budget, at a specially convened sitting of parliament on May 4.

Opposition parties are split on whether to give the divided government the votes it needs to pass the legislation, with some insisting the issue should be used to bring about early elections. ($1 = 0.8273 euros) (Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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