Hungary, Poland double down to try to eject rule of law condition from EU budget

By Marton Dunai and Alan Charlish BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary and Poland insisted there could be no rule of law conditions to access the European Union's multiannual budget and recovery fund unless the EU changes its founding treaty, digging in their heels as the bloc seeks to unwind the deadlock.

Reuters November 27, 2020 00:12:35 IST
Hungary, Poland double down to try to eject rule of law condition from EU budget

Hungary Poland double down to try to eject rule of law condition from EU budget

By Marton Dunai and Alan Charlish

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary and Poland insisted there could be no rule of law conditions to access the European Union's multiannual budget and recovery fund unless the EU changes its founding treaty, digging in their heels as the bloc seeks to unwind the deadlock.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday his country would have Poland's backing in the continued row over the pair's recent blocking of the 1.8 trillion euros worth of EU funds vital to restart the economies of the 27 member states.

The veto decision by Poland and Hungary, both beneficiaries of the budget and the recovery plan, is likely to delay hundreds of billions of euros in funds just as the 27-nation bloc is facing a second wave of COVID-19 and a double-dip recession.

Resolving the issue is in the interest of Poland and Hungary, which would receive some of the highest amounts per capita from the EU. Both badly need the funds to help their economies overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This debate cannot be solved with money," Orban, standing alongside Poland's premier Mateusz Morawiecki, said in a press statement in Budapest.

"Those who conflate these two issues (rule of law and crisis funding) are irresponsible as at a time of crisis rapid decisions are needed to aid the economy."

The crisis compounds an already thorny relationship between Brussels and its two rogue members, which have been accused of eroding democratic standards 30 years after shaking off their Soviet overlords.

Both countries are under EU investigation for undermining the independence of courts, media and non-governmental organisations.

The premiers also issued a joint statement which emphasised they would have each other's backs in upcoming negotiations.

They proposed a "two-track process" to facilitate the adoption of the financial package, saying it should be discussed in the European Council "whether a link between the Rule of Law and the financial interests of the Union should be established".

Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki repeated the veto was a real weapon.

"The use of veto today is the base scenario that we discussed in order to actually change the bad dynamics that have recently been imposed," Morawiecki said.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs; additional reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz in Warsaw; editing by Alison Williams, Larry King and Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.