Hungary and Poland must back down in EU budget fight, Romania’s PM says

Foto: INQUAM/George Călin

Hungary and Poland should accept rule-of-law conditions attached to EU funds to expedite a deal on the bloc’s long-term budget and coronavirus recovery fund, Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban has said in an interview.

EU leaders have reached agreement on a 1.82 trillion euro budget and recovery package but the two countries are preventing the package from being finalized because of their opposition to a new mechanism that would allow the EU to deny funds to countries that violate rule-of-law principles.

“The governments of the countries that oppose this….. must understand that it is necessary to build public trust around this program, which is extremely important for relaunching the economy of the whole of Europe, for the benefit of citizens in Poland and Hungary,” the Romanian prime minister told Politico.

Both governments are now blocking the EU’s budget-and-recovery package over the issue. The Polish prime minister claimed the EU was itself in violation of rule-of-law principles.

But despite growing pressure to unlock badly needed cash to support European economies hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, the EU should not give up on its demands for the sake of a quick deal, the Romanian prime minister told Politico.

“I don’t believe that a government can tell its own citizens that this plan should be blocked,” he said. “All taxpayers from EU member countries should have the guarantee that the money is used correctly.

Romania’s share of the recovery and resilience facility is estimated at around €30.4 billion.

The Liberal minority government is under political pressure to show it is not losing control of the pandemic, which has been raging despite tough restrictions, including a curfew and the closure of schools.

Romania is scrambling to expand intensive care capacity in hospitals.

Romania holds parliamentary on Dec.6. Ludovic’s Orban’s Liberals are hoping to win enough votes to command a majority after the vote.


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