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EU summit touches on rule-of-law conditionality mechanism

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said there was a "brief exchange" on the European Unionʼs 2021-2027 budget and a rule-of-law conditionality mechanism at a press conference after a video conference of EU heads of state and government late Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The summit took place days after Hungary and Poland vetoed the next seven-year budget and recovery fund because of a mechanism that links payouts to member statesʼ observance of the principles of the rule of law.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has claimed that such a mechanism, "without objective criteria and possibility of legal remedy", would "undermine Europeʼs unity", arguing that rule of law has been turned into a "political and ideological weapon" in the context of the debate over migration.

On Thursday, von der Leyen referred to an agreement reached at a marathon EU summit in July on the 2021-2027 EU budget, the recovery fund, and the conditionality mechanism.

"It consists of these three components. I think to meet the needs and expectations of the European citizens, we need the whole package. It has been agreed between the Council and the European Parliament. Now, it is important that we move forward. The Commission supports the agreement found in the trilogue between Council and Parliament," she said.

"It is equally important for the future of the European Union, to have a budget, and to uphold the rule of law. We are now working with the rotating Presidency, who is leading the efforts to find a solution....We continue to work hard to reach an agreement soon." she added.

European Council President Charles Michel told the press conference after the summit on Thursday that talks on the conditionality mechanism would continue.

"On the mechanism of conditionality, the vast majority of member states agree with the compromise on the table and some member states have indicated that they are not able to support the majority....Weʼll continue the discussions to find an acceptable solution to all," he said.

"It is my intention to hold consultations in different formats to prepare for Decemberʼs summit," he added.

The next EU summit is scheduled for December 10-11.