EU reaches COVID-19 recovery package deal
The leaders of the European Union reached agreement on a EUR 1.82 trillion budget and COVID-19 recovery package earlier today, with the deal also putting off the creation of a mechanism linking EU funds to the rule of law, according to multiple reports.
According to a report by Politico, EU leaders agreed after a marathon five-days of negotiations to jointly borrow EUR 750 billion to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic. The recovery fund (EUR 390 bln in grants and EUR 360 bln in low interest loans) will be attached to a EUR 1.074 tln seven-year budget.
Much of the debate had centered around borrowing money to fund recovery, an idea backed by France and Germany, among others, but strongly opposed by the so-called "Frugal Four" (Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark).
Earlier, both Hungary and Poland had threatened to veto any deal if it included a policy of linking funds to the state of the rule of law in a given member state.
According to a report by emerging-europe.com, the two countries managed to score a short-term victory, with the agreement putting off designing such a mechanism for another day. However, in the future, it will be agreed via a qualified majority of member states, rendering the veto of individual member states useless.
Earlier today, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán claimed that Hungary and Poland were able to negotiate large sums of money and had successfully defended their national pride at a summit in Brussels.
He said all attempts to link EU funding with the rule of law had successfully been rejected, adding that the sides had pressed for the establishment of an entirely new mechanism.
Orbán said that Hungary takes the stand that the two topics [EU funding and the rule of law] should be addressed separately, and that was achieved in the course of the talks, he said. The matter of clarifying the concept of rule of law will have to be revisited in the near future.
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