Poland and Hungary are exercising their right of veto and are blocking the budget of the European Union. The two countries fall on the agreed-upon rule of law section. This means that countries that do not adhere to the rules of the rule of law will be cut back on European subsidies.
The draft agreement was announced last week and the budget for the next seven years is being discussed further in Brussels today. This also includes the corona support package of almost 1800 billion euros. The support of all 27 Member States is needed for the plans to go ahead.
The vetoes of Poland and Hungary therefore throw a spanner in the works. That will probably not go well with southern European countries such as Spain and Italy, which have been hit hard by the corona virus and are now going to miss millions of euros for the time being.
The position of Poland and Hungary does not come as a surprise: Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán had already announced that he cannot live with the new agreements. He received support from Poland.
In recent years, the two countries have come under fire over the rule of law. Poland in particular has curtailed the powers of the judiciary due to constitutional changes. There are also concerns about the position of independent news media in Hungary.
According to correspondent Wouter Zwart, the blockade of Poland and Hungary should be seen as a strategic move. “They are now, as it were, hijacking the debate in order to gain a stronger position.”
Germany – the current European president – is likely to take the lead in seeking a solution to the situation. According to German media, Chancellor Merkel, President Michel of the European Council and President of the European Commission Von der Leyen are now going to see what is possible.
A video conference of EU leaders is scheduled for Thursday. It should actually be about better cooperation in the corona pandemic. But there is a good chance that the attitude of Poland and Hungary will dominate the video conference.