Hungary and Poland block EU budget and recovery plan

Budapest and Warsaw have vetoed the mechanism to deprive EU countries of EU funds accused of violating the rule of law.

Budapest and Warsaw on Monday, November 16 blocked the EU budget and the massive stimulus plan painstakingly approved by the Twenty-Seven in July, opening a crisis within the Union in the middle of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic .

During a meeting of ambassadors of EU countries, Hungary and Poland vetoed this package to oppose the establishment of a mechanism to deprive countries accused of violating European funds. the rule of law (independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights), according to European sources.

«Hungary vetoed the budget, as Prime Minister (Viktor) Orban had warned, because we cannot support the project in its current form linking the rule of law criterion to budgetary decisions, it is contrary to the July summit conclusionsHungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs confirmed on Twitter.

MEPs and EU member states agreed at the beginning of November on this conditionality mechanism, a first for the EU budget. This agreement, found after tough negotiations, paved the way for a compromise on the entire multiannual budget (2021-2027) to which the recovery plan is backed. German Ambassador to the EU Michael Clauss, whose country holds the six-monthly presidency of the EU, deplored the blockage. “We have already lost a lot of time, faced with the second wave of the pandemic and the serious economic damage caused», He reacted.

«Continue consultations» –

«It is crucial that the entire package is adopted quickly, otherwise the EU will face a serious crisis.“, Continued the diplomat, calling”urgently those who have not been able to join the European consensus almost reached today to show the necessary will for a compromise». «We will continue our intensive consultations with all parties involved“, he said.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP (right), the main group in the European Parliament, judged “irresponsible»To deprive the whole of Europe of funding in the midst of the crisis. “The rule of law does not concern one country, East or West. It is neutral and applies to everyone. If you respect the rule of law there is nothing to fearHe said on Twitter. Hungarian heads of government Viktor Orban and Polish heads of government Mateusz Morawiecki, in Brussels for their reforms accused of undermining the rule of law, had written a letter to EU leaders to challenge the planned mechanism.

The rule of law criterion “is only a pretext (…), it is an institutional, political enslavement, a radical limitation of sovereignty“, Denounced Monday morning the Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, who belongs to the hard wing of the government.

«Political consequences» –

The ambassadors of the 27 gathered on Monday afternoon were to vote on two issues requiring unanimity: the approval of the multiannual budget and a decision authorizing the EU to increase its resources to borrow in order to finance the recovery plan. On this last decision, “EU ambassadors did not achieve the necessary unanimity (…) due to reservations expressed by two member statesSebastian Fischer, spokesperson for the German EU Presidency, posted on Twitter.

The mechanism linking the payment of European funds to respect for democratic values ​​was approved without a hitch, with a sufficient qualified majority. “If the blockage persists, there will be political consequences for Hungary and Poland, even if they cannot be expelled from the EU», Reacted a European diplomat. He felt that he was “No way»To renegotiate the conditionality mechanism. A point of view also expressed by the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli last week. “For the moment, Hungary shows no signs of opening up“, Continued this source, which expects from”see if Poland follows on this line».

The European heads of state and government agreed in July, after four days and four nights of a marathon summit, on a recovery plan described as “historicalTo face the Covid crisis. Worth 750 billion euros, it is linked to a multiannual budget (2021-2027) of more than 1000 billion euros. After the failure on Monday, the search for a solution will be discussed at a meeting of European Affairs ministers on Tuesday, two days before a summit, officially devoted to the fight against the pandemic.


SEE ALSO – European recovery plan: “This is the most important moment since the creation of the euro», assure Emmanuel Macron

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