Hungary hits out at Brussels’ funding ‘blackmail’

File photo. Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjarto, 9 December 2020. [EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU]

The Hungarian government on Tuesday (28 September) condemned what it termed Brussels’ “blackmail” over the allocation of EU funding as differences between the eastern member and the European Union institutions deepen.

Budapest and Brussels have long been at odds over Hungarian judicial reforms and LGBTQ rights and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó weighed in by accusing the EU of using funding as “a matter of blackmailing in order to stress for political type of changes.”

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Speaking in English, he called the EU approach “unacceptable” while insisting Budapest would not compromise on domestic laws it says are designed to protect the family.

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“Since we are not ready to withdraw that (protection) there will be no compromise on this issue,” he told AFP in Strasbourg.

He added that “the blackmailing mission was incomplete, because last week, first of all, (ratings agency) Moody’s upgraded Hungary, and we had a huge success on the bond market, a huge demand for our long term bond.”

This meant, the minister said: “We have way enough money to start those projects, which would have been covered by EU bonds. Yes, we can do it without (EU funds).”

A European Commission spokeswoman, Dana Spinant, told journalists on Monday she could not say if both sides would reach agreement but insisted the Commission is “engaged faithfully in this negotiation” to approve spending plans.

Hungary currently holds until November the rotating presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, whose priorities include the protection of minorities and families.

Poland too has accused the EU of ‘blackmail’ for having said the member state’s pandemic recovery funds were contingent on its acceptance of the primacy of EU law over its national system.

Poland accuses EU of 'blackmail' over recovery funds

Poland’s justice minister on Thursday (2 September) accused the European Commission of “blackmail” for suggesting the member state’s pandemic recovery funds were contingent on its acceptance of the primacy of EU law over its national system.

Poland’s challenge to the primacy of European Union law over national law is holding up the release of €57 billion in EU recovery funds to Warsaw.

Commission says it is holding up recovery money for Poland

Poland’s challenge to the primacy of European Union law over national law is holding up the release of €57 billion in EU recovery funds to Warsaw, European Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday (1 September).

(Edited by Georgi Gotev)

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