‘It’s not gonna work’, Orbán says about Polish veto retreat

Brussels, Belgium. 20th March 2019. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference at the end of the European People's Party (EPP) Political Assembly at the European Parliament. [Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis]

Hungary and Poland have committed to supporting each other’s position in the budget row, and attaching a declaration to the rule of law regulation does not work for Budapest, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a weekly radio interview on Friday (4 December), following news that Poland may be softening its position on the veto.

Hungary and Poland have vetoed the EU’s 1.8 trillion financial package consisting of the seven-year budget and recovery fund over a proposed regulation linking Union spending to rule of law criteria.

Orbán said Hungary and Poland had signed a joint declaration during Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s visit to the Hungarian capital last Thursday (26 November), which included a sentence that neither Poland nor Hungary will accept the EU proposals that are “deemed unacceptable by the other.”

Poland, Hungary propose two-track way out of EU budget deadlock

Poland and Hungary reaffirmed on Thursday (26 October) their opposition to tying EU finds with the rule of law in member states and instead offered their own proposal for breaking the deadlock that is holding back the EU’s €1.81 trillion seven-year budget and the recovery fund.

For Hungary the solution “to add some declaration, like to a Dazibao, a little reminder with a pushpin, it won’t work, so Hungary insists that the two things [the budget and the rule of law regulation] have to be seperated,” the Hungarian prime minister said. Dazibao is a Chinese term for a wall poster written in large characters, expressing a political opinion.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Poland’s deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said:

“I believe it is in the interest of all … to find a good compromise. Such a compromise is possible … through a binding declaration interpreting (the rule of law regulation),” which could be “a clear statement from the European Council that the conditionality rule would not be used to exert unjustified pressure on individual member states in areas other than the proper use of EU funds.”

Poland ready to drop EU budget veto for EU summit declaration on rule of law

Poland would be ready to drop its veto to the EU’s €1.8 trillion financial package if EU leaders endorse an explanatory declaration on the link between EU funds and the rule of law, Poland’s deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said.

Orbán reiterated that Hungary’s proposal to the German presidency is to quickly adopt “without any difficulty” the EU’s long-term budget and recovery fund, and “set aside and discuss later” the rule of law regulation.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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