Viktor Orban hits out at EU over coronavirus vaccine roll out
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The European Commission has decided not to approve the national recovery plans of Poland and Hungary. They will not receive the advance payment to which 18 other member states have been entitled so far.
By provoking the European institutions, Poland and Hungary have put themselves in trouble.
The two countries will not receive the first benefits of the European recovery plan, of which most of the other EU member states have received a first instalment this year.
European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Tuesday: “The approval work is ongoing. It is unlikely that we will be able to finalise it this year.
He spoke at the end of the meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels.
If the plans had been approved, Poland and Hungary would have been entitled to a first instalment of 13 percent of the total of €23.9 billion and €7.2 billion in subsidies they are due to receive respectively over the next five years.
Under pressure from the Parliament and the member states, the Commission has set conditions for the release of EU funds.
Brussels wants firm commitments to guarantee the independence of the justice system for Warsaw, public procurement and conflict of interest issues for Budapest.
A few days ago, the Renew MEP Valérie Hayer recalled that all the pro-European parties in the European Parliament had asked the Commission not to pay anything to Poland as long as the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court had not been abolished, the dismissed judges reinstalled in their posts and the justice reform project clarified.
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With Hungary, the conflict is more about the risks of corruption and the capacity of the judiciary to counteract it.
Commissioner Dombrovskis added: “It is the progress on the substance of the issue that will determine the speed.
“As soon as we see substantial progress, we will be able to move forward on the Commission’s side.”
Tensions have been running high with the government of Mateuzs Morawiecki since the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that certain articles of the EU treaties are “incompatible” with the national constitution.
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Viktor Orban’s regime is also challenging a court ruling that condemned the country for violating the right to asylum.
The Hungarian government is also in trouble for passing a law accused of undermining the rights of LGBT people.
Valdis Dombrovskis pointed out on Tuesday that the EU had already paid out €54.2 billion in grants to 18 member states as part of the €800 billion NextGenerationEU plan.
Reacting to the move, French leader of UPR, Francois Asselineau, said: “For disobeying the Commission, especially on judicial matters: Poland is deprived of €3.1 billion and Hungary of €0.94 billion of ‘European’ subsidies.
“A notice to those who want to ‘disobey the treaties’.
“Certainly the position of France, net contributor to the European Union, would be a little different from the position of Poland and Hungary which are net beneficiaries.
“But if we ‘disobeyed the EU treaties’, we would be deprived of subsidies and still required to pay our contribution to the European Union!”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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