Leaders from Hungary and Poland have spoken of their confidence that an EU budget deal will be reached but demanded compromise from Brussels after the two nations vetoed a proposal to link access to funding with the rule of law.
On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that he was unfazed by the EU budget deadlock and expressed his optimism that leaders will come together and find an agreement.
The PM said there are a number of ways to resolve the disagreement “that are acceptable to Hungary and Poland… where legal aspects decide and not a political majority.”
Orban claimed that the reaction to Hungary and Poland’s veto of the EU budget proposal had been “calm,” adding that European leaders know how to resolve a disagreement internally.
The outspoken PM also slammed Hungarian born billionaire George Soros, claiming that he corrupts bureaucrats in Brussels who subsequently blackmail and threaten Hungary. Soros said on Thursday that the EU “cannot afford a compromise” for Poland and Hungary.
Krzysztof Szczerski, the Polish president’s chief of staff, told public broadcaster TVP Info on Friday that it was good to see that no one had questioned the right of Hungary and Poland to veto the budget.
However, he stated that compromise was needed from the EU if an agreement on the hugely significant, seven-year budget, was going to be reached.
Italy’s Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri also expressed his optimism on Friday, adding that he hoped a deal would be reached at the EU summit in December.
The vetoing of the proposals on Monday by Hungary and Poland came as no surprise as both nations had expressed their opposition to the plans to link access to EU funding with the rule of law.
Orban has previously compared the proposal to link access to funding with the rule of law to practices utilized by the Soviet Union.
If accepted, the budget would allow Brussels to limit funding and sanction EU governments that did not abide by their own laws. The Hungarian PM claimed this was a “discretionary mechanism” with “politically motivated criteria.”
Hungary and Poland’s veto, as well as Slovenia’s open opposition, means that the contents of the next EU budget, which runs from 2021 to 2027, are in doubt.
In its current form, the budget includes a total package of €1.8 trillion of funding, the largest ever financed through the EU as Brussels looks to play a leading role in Europe’s post-Covid economy recovery.
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