Poland and Hungary lift their veto on the COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan

The long-awaited European recovery fund is unlocked, whereby Spain is entitled to 140,000 million euros to face the consequences of Covid-19. Political leaders reached an agreement on Thursday with Poland and Hungary, which had vetoed the European Union’s recovery plan for its refusal to link the funds to the rule of law.

By managing to lift the veto of both countries, Brussels can go ahead with its distribution of funds, but also with the multi-annual EU budget for the period set between 2021-2027. Total, Starting January 1, 2021, € 1.8 trillion will be mobilized to help build a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, applauded the achievement on Twitter and announced that Europe can now get down to work to restore the community economy, so damaged by the pandemic.

For her part, the president of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen recalled the step forward that Europe is taking with this historic financial package and congratulated Germany for having mediated the negotiations with Poland and Hungary.

In the European Parliament they also applaud the agreement, even if it somehow Hungary and Poland have imposed certain conditions and the mechanism must first go through the Court of Justice of the EU. “The effective use of sanctions could be delayed until the Court of Justice of the European Union has approved the legal text. Therefore, we are facing a delay, and it is not benefits, but the tool as such remains unchanged,” he explained Greens MEP Daniel Freund.

With this commitment, European partners will not be able to cut funds to those countries, such as Hungary or Poland, filed by Brussels for their problems with judicial independence, freedom of the press or respect for minorities. Now, the last word is for the Court of Justice of the EU, which must rule on this.

German mediation

German Minister for Europe Michael Roth, whose country is chairing the EU Council this semester, held backstage talks with Budapest and Warsaw to find a solution.

“With regard to the German presidency and the governments of Poland and Hungary, we have a scheme for such an agreement, now it is up to the Netherlands to accept it,” said Adam Bielan MEP, from the Law and Justice party (PiS), the party of the Polish government.

The Netherlands, like the rest of the frugal countries – Denmark, Sweden and Austria – are also among the strongest advocates of conditioning aid to the rule of law, although all EU countries have been firm in their refusal to modify this mechanism as requested by Budapest and Warsaw.