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Talks between European Union leaders over €1.8trillion budget and recovery package broke down last night, sparking a crisis in Brussels. Poland and Hungary both vetoed the plan, because access to the funds would be conditional upon respecting the rule of law. EU leaders reacted in outrage to Poland and Hungary’s decision to block the EU’s 2021-2027 budget and recovery plan.
Following the breakdown in talks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted the EU faces a “very serious problem”.
She said: “This means that we can’t yet send the paperwork to the European Parliament and that there can be no vote next week
“This is a very serious problem that we need to solve so I cannot speculate on the outcome.”
Mrs Merkel rejected claims that the EU was beholden to “threats” from Warsaw and Budapest.
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She also refused to say whether one of the options being considered would be to threaten the two countries with taking away their voting rights.
The German Chancellor responded: “For me the word ‘threaten’ is not the right word in this context.
“We are obliged to try to find a way out. It’s a serious problem that we have to solve and we will work hard and earnestly on it.”
A senior EU diplomat warned failure to come to an agreement could plunge the bloc into yet another “crisis”.
They said: “We will be likely in crisis again. I cannot tell you exactly when all this will be up and running, certainly, there will be delays.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “millions of businesses” across the European Union are waiting on the bloc to provide them with certainty over the union’s next seven-year budget.
European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans echoed this, saying: “It is in the interest of everyone that we move quickly on this. People’s jobs depend on this.”
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He added: “Our economic recovery depends on this. All that is being asked of member states is to respect the treaties they have signed and ratified. That’s it.”
Poland and Hungary have refused to back down in the face of mounting EU pressure.
Warsaw and Budapest’s ruling nationalist parties have repeatedly clashed with Brussels.
On Thursday, Poland’s lower house of parliament passed a resolution supporting Warsaw’s stance on vetoing the EU’s budget and recovery fund plans.
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