Brussels/Warsaw, 25 November 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Poland and Hungary should challenge the EU budget conditionality mechanism at the top EU court, rather than block the agreement over the EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
Last week, the two countries withheld support for a key decision on how to fund the shared 2021-2027 EU spending plan due to a separate dispute over what they see as interference in their domestic rule-of-law affairs by EU officials and the other 25 member states.
The move will most likely significantly delay the adoption of the EU’s 1.8-trillion-euro (2.1-trillion-dollar) plan.
The conditionality mechanism that may assess the observance of the rule of law in a given country was approved in July and if a member state has doubts, it should go to the European Court of Justice rather than block a deal “at the expense of millions of Europeans who are urgently waiting for our help,” von der Leyen said in the European Parliament.
Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro quickly dismissed the suggestion, calling it “demagogic.”
Von der Leyen made the proposal “in bad faith” and is pushing “for solutions she knows to be illegal,” Ziobro said at a press conference in Warsaw.
As a German, von der Leyen should especially pay attention to act within the confines of the law, Ziobro said.
“Not so recent history shows that those who infringed on the law in the past, also acting via democratic mechanisms, led to consequences which Europe painfully remembers to this day,” he said in a apparent reference to the rise of the Nazi party in per-War Germany.