George Soros weighs in on Brussels deal

EU

Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com

Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com

The billionaire investor George Soros has said a compromise German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached with Hungary and Poland over conditionality for the European Union budget and recovery fund is "the worst of all possible worlds" in an opinion piece published on Project Syndicate, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

He said Prime Minister Viktor Orban's "kleptocratic" regime in Hungary and, "to a lesser extent", the Law and Justice (PiS) government in Poland "are brazenly challenging the values on which the European Union has been built".

"Treating their challenge as a legitimate political stance deserving of recognition and a compromise solution will only add – massively – to the risks that the EU now faces," he added.

"Threatening to torpedo the EU's finances by vetoing its budget was a desperate gamble on Orban's part. But it was a bluff that should have been called. Unfortunately, Merkel has, it appears, caved in to Hungarian and Polish extortion," Soros wrote.

Hungary and Poland earlier vetoed the EU budget and recovery fund over a mechanism that would link payouts to the observance of the rule of law, arguing that such a mechanism would "undermine" the rule of law "by degrading it to a political instrument". After long negotiations at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, a deal on the EU budget and recovery fund was reached. Orbán said "we have reached our targets", speaking at a joint press conference with his Polish peer Mateusz Morawiecki after the talks.

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