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EU’s mask slips: Brussels boss shatters unity– tells Poland and Hungary you cannot stop us

Poland and Hungary vow to retain veto from EU budget

Brussels Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said he hoped a “solution is possible” but said the EU won’t hesitate to plough ahead despite Poland and Hungary’s refusal to back down over the bloc’s seven-year budget to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he is “still confident that at the end of the day a solution is possible” but warned Hungary and Poland “cannot stop us”.

The member of the European People’s Party said: “Both countries will lose a lot, and gain nothing.

“The real losers are their citizens, because they are the victims of these political decisions,” according to politics news site, Politico.eu.

The EU remains locked in a longstanding battle with Poland and Hungary after they vetoed the bloc’s £1.6tn (€1.8tn) seven-year budget, as well as the £671bn (€750bn) coronavirus recovery.

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The two countries are against plans to attach rule-of-law conditions to the disbursement of money.

Mr Hahn’s remarks come after a senior EU diplomat said the bloc will have to set the budget up without the two member states if Hungary and Poland continue to uphold their veto of the coronavirus recovery fund.

But after meeting his Polish counterpart in Brussels on Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: “We have affirmed that we stand by each other.

“We will not give room to any effort aiming to break up this co-operation.”

Warsaw and Budapest, both under EU scrutiny for undermining judicial and media independence, are blocking the budget and the recovery fund because they object to making the money conditional on respect for the rule of law and democratic norms.

The nation’s blocked the EU’s seven-year budget and its post-crisis development fund for weeks, stopping £1.6 trillion (€1.8tn) worth of funds from reaching member states, some hurting for cash amid an economic crisis.

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Budapest and Warsaw, which have been criticised for years for perceived backsliding on democratic standards, have said they would act and vote together on the rule of law issue.

After Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed the budget, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned the bloc could take the issue to the courts.

Poland’s deputy foreign minister, Pawel Jablonski, told private broadcaster Polsat News his country had not changed its stance either.

He said: “The prime minister made it very clear that we would not agree to any solutions that would not guarantee respecting our rights, would not give us a guarantee that we are safe, that the rights that are set out in the EU treaty are respected.

“If there is an agreement that guarantees these rights, then we will agree. A veto is a tool.”

 While Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said linking the rule of law to EU funds was unacceptable.

She told public broadcaster Polskie Radio Program 1: “The conditionality mechanism in its present shape is unacceptable for Poland.”

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