Hungarian, Polish PMs to discuss EU budget veto
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki will hold talks in Budapest Thursday on their recent EU budget veto over the planned link of funding to rule of law criteria.
The EU’s 1.8-trillion-euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus rescue package were vetoed last week by the two countries, both accused by Brussels of rolling back democratic freedoms.
The talks between the two leaders were confirmed to the Hungarian state newswire MTI by Orban’s press officer Wednesday.
“The meeting’s agenda is expected to include the MFF as Poland and Hungary intend to coordinate EU Budget negotiating positions,” said a message by the Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU on Twitter, referring to the bloc’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) or long-term budget.
Morawiecki said after the veto that a “European oligarchy” was trying to bully weaker EU members, while Orban called the conditionality plan a politically motivated “weapon” and a form of “blackmail” against member states opposed to immigration.
EU leaders have since intensified efforts to convince Orban and Morawiecki to drop their veto, which has plunged the bloc into a new crisis threatening joint efforts to fight the epidemic.
While the veto was not a complete surprise, the stand-off angered EU partners, with many keenly awaiting payouts from the stimulus to help fix economies shattered by the pandemic with worse feared yet to come.
But the rule-of law issue is hugely sensitive for both Warsaw and Budapest.
Poland is already subject to an EU investigative procedure over its efforts to trim the independence of the judiciary, as is Hungary for an erosion of democratic norms, such as press freedom, under Orban’s rule.
“Many types of solutions are possible, it’s just a question of political will,” Orban said on Friday.
Acceptable solutions for Hungary and Poland “would be those reached on the basis of legal standpoints rather than the political majority,” he told Hungarian public media.