June 16, 2021

Hungary and Poland take the recovery fund hostage to try to continue bypassing the rule of law

The EU is back in crisis. The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán (Fidesz / PPE), has fulfilled his promise to veto the 2021-27 budget of the European Union of 1,074 billion and its recovery fund of 750,000 million as a result of the mechanism that conditions the financing of funds Europeans to the accession of Member States to the rule of law. And, with him, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki (from PiS, an ally of Vox).

The permanent representatives of the member states to the EU met this Monday afternoon to discuss the matter with the veto on the table. “If Hungary blocks the agreement on the budget and own resources, then we will be in crisis again,” acknowledged a diplomatic source: “We will take stock and reflect on the next steps with the leaders.” This Thursday there is a new European Council of Heads of State and Government.

“The EU ambassadors have not been able to reach the necessary unanimity to initiate the written procedure due to reservations expressed by two Member States,” the German presidency announced, referring to Hungary and Poland.

“In relation to Hungary’s veto of the EU budget, it has not been Hungary that has changed its position,” said Orbán government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs, who justified: “Hungary has vetoed the budget, as warned Prime Minister Orbán, because we cannot support the plan in its current form to link the criteria of the rule of law to budget decisions. It is contrary to the conclusions of the July summit. ”

“Our position has been clear all along. Before attending the debate on the financial framework and the recovery fund, Prime Minister Orbán received a mandate from the Hungarian Parliament on the direction we should take. That a Hungarian veto could lead to a crisis? I repeat: the burden of responsibility falls on those who have given rise to this situation despite Hungary’s well-articulated position, “said Orbán’s spokesman.

The Prime Ministers of Poland and Hungary, Mateusz Morawiecki and Viktor Orbán, have sent letters to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in which they insist on their rejection of the agreement that links European funds to the rule of law.

Neither Hungary nor Poland can veto this mechanism, as it can be approved by a qualified majority, but they can use it to block the entire package, which includes the EU budget for the next seven years and the recovery fund.

Morawiecki, who has also sent the letter to the current EU presidency, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, defends that “she cannot accept” the mechanism because “it leads to a primacy of political and arbitrary criteria”.

“If the draft drawn up by the European Parliament and the German presidency that incorporates a conditionality and rule of law mechanism in the EU budget is adopted, we will make the EU a Soviet Union,” Orbán said for his part.

The APR Forum researcher Silvia Merler suggested on Monday a way out of the crisis that someone else expressed in the summer: get around the blockade by creating a new institution through an intergovernmental agreement, as was the case with the MEDE. Thus, only the participants of the agreement could have access to the recovery fund and would not depend on the veto of any country and, also, it would be seen to what extent the pulse of Budapest and Warsaw is real or a bluff.


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