EU sets deadline for Poland and Hungary

The two member states have until the middle of the week to withdraw their veto against the Corona package. Then the remaining states move on to “Plan B”.

Allies: Poland and Hungary's Prime Ministers Morawiecki and Orbán (right)

Dhe European Union has set Hungary and Poland a deadline of Wednesday morning to withdraw their veto against the Corona package. If the two member states have not signaled by then that they are ready for a compromise, the remaining 25 states will have to move on to “Plan B”, said diplomats in Brussels on Monday.

It was said that it was not an ultimatum. In order to be able to put the EUR 1.8 trillion Corona package consisting of the EU budget and development fund into effect in good time, the EU needs clarity quickly. This does not have to be a fully formulated agreement, but it should give clear signals. At the summit of the heads of state and government at the end of the week, details could only be negotiated.

Hungary and Poland are blocking the Corona package because they want to prevent the link between EU aid and the rule of law as provided for in it. The EU could then cut money from budgets and reconstruction funds for states that violate their rule of law standards.

The German EU Council Presidency has apparently presented compromise proposals to Hungary and Poland in order to make it easier to give in. Details were not announced on Monday. The rule of law mechanism will not be called into question, it said.

Diplomats recently brought into play a declaration that would assure Hungary and Poland that the rule of law mechanism would not be used to force them to make concessions on migration policy. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had asserted several times that the rule of law mechanism was designed to punish states that refused to accept migrants. As “Plan B”, the other 25 member states could at least put the € 750 billion Corona reconstruction fund into effect, excluding Hungary and Poland.

Preparations for this are in full swing in the Commission. It is examining different variants for this. As with the EU unemployment insurance “Sure”, the debt for the fund could be raised through voluntary national guarantees instead of through the EU budget.

There would be no solution for the 2021 budget. An emergency budget would apply to the EU from January onwards. It would not be left without resources. Noticeable cuts in spending would, however, be inevitable.