Hungary and Poland are holding up the €1.8 trillion package over a rule-of-law mechanism.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated Monday that she is willing to make some concessions to Hungary and Poland in a fierce political fight over rule of law, saying that both sides must agree to compromises to adopt the EU’s €1.8 trillion budget-and-recovery package that has been held up over the dispute.
Budapest and Warsaw are blocking the adoption of the financial package over their opposition to a mechanism — negotiated between the German presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament — that would link budget payments to rule-of-law criteria.
Many EU countries and leading MEPs have said they are not willing to backtrack on the rule-of-law deal, and Merkel previously defended it as “a very good and balanced compromise.”
On Monday, however, the German chancellor indicated that it may be necessary to tweak the rule-of-law mechanism in order to convince Hungary and Poland to drop their veto. Merkel is in charge of brokering a deal as Germany currently holds the rotating Council presidency.
“Some say: Don’t compromise and don’t change a single comma, and others or the same people say: But please come up with a result,” Merkel told a videoconference with EU affairs lawmakers from national parliaments across the bloc.
“And that, I would say now, is exactly the task of politics, to turn apparent incompatibilities into a result with which everyone can live,” Merkel continued, adding: “But without a compromise, this will not work — and by that I mean [a compromise] from all sides. And that’s why I believe that, because this is a truly central project, we must all be prepared to compromise to some extent.”
She said that “we know that we absolutely want a result” to unblock the budget-and-recovery deal, warning that without an agreement EU spending capabilities in the next year would be severely reduced.
Still, Merkel also defended the importance of rule of law as “the basis of the European project.” She stressed that the agreed mechanism had “the seal” of both the Council’s and the Commission’s legal services and rejected accusations from Hungary or Poland that it would introduce Article 7 disciplinary measures “through the backdoor.”
She admitted that an initial deal on rule of law that was struck among EU leaders in July — and in whose making she had been closely involved — “contained a large number of ambiguities,” which made it now difficult to reach a deal among all 27 EU countries. EU leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday next week to find a compromise.
“Bringing all the member states together is now proving to be something about as difficult as squaring the circle,” she said.This article is part of POLITICO’s coverage of the EU budget, tracking the development of the seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework. For a complimentary trial, email firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning Budget.
Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-all-sides-must-make-compromises-to-break-budget-deadlock-over-rule-of-law/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication