Wed, 27 Jan 2021

The Hungarian and Polish prime ministers have signed a joint declaration pledging to support each other in blocking the European Union's next budget and its massive pandemic relief fund because of a proposed mechanism that ties it to compliance with the rule of law.

Viktor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki said after their meeting in Budapest on November 26 that the mechanism risks derailing the bloc.

In the declaration, the two prime ministers claimed that the mechanism 'applies vague definitions and ambiguous terms without clear criteria on which sanctions can be based.'

Both Hungary and Poland are under EU investigation for undermining the independence of the judiciary, media, and nongovernmental organizations, and they risk losing access to tens of billions of euros.

'Neither Poland nor Hungary will accept any proposal that is deemed unacceptable to the other,' the joint declaration reads.

Last week, the two countries withheld support for a key decision on how to fund the shared 2021-2027 EU spending plan.

Their veto is likely to significantly delay the adoption of the EU's 1.8 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) plan.

The standoff with the two countries has angered other EU member states who are keenly awaiting payouts from the 27-member bloc's stimulus package to help economies seriously hit by the pandemic.

Settling the dispute is also in the interest of Poland and Hungary, which would receive some of the highest amounts per capita from Brussels.

Both are in great need of financial aid to help their economies overcome the effects of the pandemic.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, and mti.hu

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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