Budapest, Hungary (AP)-The European Union has not yet fully organized its troublesome post-divorce relationship with Britain-but it is already in another major crisis.
This time, 27 members are being tested as an ambitious package aimed at blocking Poland and Hungary from passing the budget for the next seven years and saving the economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Their objection? A new “rule of law mechanism” that allows the block to refuse funds to countries that violate democratic norms-what both Poland and Hungary have been accused of doing for years.
There is a budget battle here ahead of Thursday’s Virtual EU Summit, where leaders want to end the stalemate.
How endangered are you?
The proposed budget of € 1.8 trillion ($ 2.1 trillion) covers the period 2021-2027 and € 750 billion (878 billion) to help the continent recover economically from the pandemic blow. Includes emergency funds (dollars).
The budget is expected to come into effect on January 1, and authorities are anxious to approve the agreement within a few weeks so that funds can flow quickly.
Member of the European Parliament and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has accused Hungarian and Polish leaders of endangering life and livelihoods threatened by COVID-19. .. “
What caused the controversy?
The governments of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have long been accused of eroding the rule of law by undermining democratic institutions such as independent judicial and free press.
Both Poland and Hungary are former communist countries that have been welcomed as models of a democratic transition after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989. But today, they are often associated with a democratic retreat of the right-wing mass government.
At the heart of the crisis is the question of what the EU is. Is it a free trade zone consisting primarily of independent countries and unions that share common democratic values? Many within the block are keen to protect those norms. However, within the limits of existing rules, it was not possible to change the course in Warsaw or Budapest. Therefore, suggestions on how to block money.
Vice-Chairman of the European Commission, Bella Jouroba, ensured that EU law applies to 27 countries in the block, explaining in September: “Taxpayers in many member countries violate their basic rights.”
However, this discussion raised another recurring and annoying problem. How powerful does the EU need to impose that will on its member states?
Morawicki told the Polish Parliament Wednesday evening, “This is whether our destiny is in our hands, we are in our hands, or we are in the hands of others. It’s about whether it’s in your hands. “
View of Poland and Hungary
The Orban and Morawiecki governments say they are being punished for having a more conservative worldview than the mainstream in Western Europe. They state that they were elected by their people in a democratic vote, and that the accusations of undemocratic behavior are false.
Orban said on Wednesday that linking money to the rule of law was a “political and ideological weapon” used to intimidate and punish countries that refuse immigration.
“In Brussels today, they consider only the countries that accept immigrants to be governed by the rule of law. Border defenders cannot qualify as countries governed by the rule of law. “Oban said in a statement to the state-run news agency MTI.
The Polish government also condemned the proposal and expressed concern that it would be used arbitrarily to punish Poland on a variety of issues, including the anti-LGBT views of its leaders.
Hungarian Corruption Allegations
Some Oban critics say that linking money to the rule of law can threaten the very functioning of his government.
Under Orban, EU-funded public contracts are often awarded to companies owned by his allies and families, and details of these contracts may be kept secret and allegations of corruption. Is occurring frequently.
In 2018, EU agencies investigating how Block’s funds are being spent conducted more research in Hungary than in other EU countries.
Orban dismissed the allegations of corruption.
Dissidents at home
The Hungarian and Polish governments claim they will not retreat, but there are many in both countries who are firmly in favor of the EU. Among them are opposition politicians and political activists who are demonstrating on the streets in search of free courts and free media. “Europe should not leave us,” read the sign that the protesters had on Wednesday in front of the Supreme Court in Warsaw.
How can this stalemate be resolved?
There is no easy way. Germany’s European Minister Michael Roth, who is currently chairing the EU Council, said this week that there is no alternative to the package and that EU leaders will not abandon the mechanism. ..
However, they were able to guarantee that their implementation would be restricted to Poland and Hungary. “No one should be afraid of anything,” said EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
If that strategy fails, some leaders have suggested that other countries can at least unite to pass the coronavirus aid package.
Gala reported from Warsaw, Poland. Contributed by Associated Press writer Samuel Petrekin in Brussels.
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
The EU has been hit by a new crisis.This time around money and values
Source link The EU has been hit by a new crisis.This time around money and values