Poland faces an ultimatum from the European Commission
Poland may lose as much as 8 billion euro for anti-pollution initiative that is offered by the European Union. There is a strong possibility that the funds will go up in a puff of smoke due to the fact that Polish authorities are not very cooperative and are not eager to follow the guidelines from the European Commission.
Polish broadsheet “Gazeta Wyborcza” revealed the contents of a letter that was sent from the Commission officials to Polish authorities. In a nutshell, the EC gives Poland a deadline to comply with the EU requests with regard to the “Clean Air” programme, a government scheme that was introduced in September 2018 to combat smog. Air pollution is a big problem in Poland. According to the estimates, it kills more than 65 thousand people in one year.
The money from the EU is directed at helping households in replacing old, inefficient coal-fuelled heaters with their modern, more eco-friendly counterparts. It can also be spent on improving home insulation. The problem is, Polish administration is very slow in processing applications and distributing funds. The Commission expects 400 thousand agreements signed in a year, while in the recent 10 month the number was only 13.5 thousand.
“Clean Air” is currently managed by The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. The EC would rather have the funds to be distributed through local government bodies and commercial banks. Polish authorities prefer the funding to be administered on the national level. They stress the fact that the programme was frozen for three weeks due to changes in law and the need to introduce new application forms which slowed down agreement signing.
The letter specifies the 21st of June as the final date on which Polish authorities are to make the decision on whether the suggested changes will be implemented or not. Negative answer may result in cutting the funding.
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