Press statement by President von der Leyen with Belgian Prime Minister De Croo and Polish Prime Minister Tusk

Thank you very much, dear Donald, for hosting us here in Warsaw. It is a pleasure for me to be here with Prime Minister De Croo, Alexander, as Belgian Presidency. It is wonderful to be here because yes, these are momentous times in Poland for the promotion of democratic values. We are impressed by your efforts, and those of the Polish people to restore the rule of law as the backbone of your society. A society where everyone plays by the rules. A society where people and businesses can trust the institutions and can hold authorities to account. Together we will protect the rule of law all over Europe. Because all these are essential conditions for citizens to feel safe and free. So I strongly welcome the action plan that your government presented to the Member States this week. It is a powerful statement, it is a clear roadmap for Poland, and your efforts are decisive. Based on the reforms you have launched, and a number of immediate steps you have taken on judicial independence, I have good news. Next week the College will come forward with two decisions on European funds that are currently blocked for Poland. These decisions will free up to EUR 137 billion for Poland. This is from NextGenerationEU, and it is from the cohesion funds. And the protection of these funds will be guaranteed by the European Public Prosecutor. This is great news for the Polish people and for Europe. And this is your achievement.

A strong rule of law also means a more resilient society. And this is needed more than ever. Putin and his friends are doing everything in their power to poison public debates all over Europe. Through lies and disinformation they are trying to sow division. Both within societies and between neighbours, including here in Poland. We have seen it this week. We must call out these attempts. It is therefore very good that, together with France and Germany, you have decided to set up an alert and response scheme to hunt down and counter these lies. And you can rest assured that we will continue supporting you in this work. In particular, through our Commission Task Force that detects and debunks disinformation.

We also discussed the situation that our farmers face all across Europe, and also here in Poland. I have profound admiration for the hard work that farmers do, everyday, to bring healthy food to our table. Thanks to their efforts, Europe has the best quality food in the world. But they face many challenges. And they are worried about their future. This is legitimate. So we listen. And we act. Europe already supports Polish farmers with EUR 22 billion through the Common Agricultural Policy. And more will come. For example, the first payment under NextGenerationEU includes EUR 1.4 billion. They are available immediately for Polish farmers now to help them expand and modernise their production and enter new markets. In addition, we are taking measures to make the life of farmers easier all across Europe, from the derogation on fallow lands to proposals to cut red tape which we have just tabled. And we are preparing the future of agriculture in Europe together in our Strategic Dialogue.

A word on the specific situation in Poland at the border with Ukraine. Here too, we listen. And we act. Take the road transport agreement that we are going to update. We have fully taken your concerns into account. Today, exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea route are significantly picking up. And that is good. Because it relieves, and it will continue to relieve land borders. Now, our efforts should focus on supporting Ukraine in rebuilding its export capacities towards the world. That is important for us.

Dear Donald,   

Dear Alexander,

Tomorrow will mark two years since Russia invaded its peaceful neighbour Ukraine. We support them in their brave fight. I am confident that we can deal with the consequences this war has on Europe. Because Ukrainians are fighting for the rule of law against the right of might, for democracy and freedom, against tyranny. They fight for our values and our security. This is why we stand by them for as long as it takes.

Thank you.