EU Reaches Deal On 1.8 Trillion Stimulus

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By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – European Union leaders agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro ($2.2 trillion) stimulus package after Hungary and Poland withdrew their veto. Both EU member states threatened to torpedo funds if payments were tied to rule-of-laws standards.

The compromise, brokered by Germany — which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency — theoretically still ties the funding to respect for rule-of-law standards. But sanctions can’t be triggered before the European Court of Justice rules on the new regulations’ legality.

Besides, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, will have to determine how the mechanism will work. Experts suggest the legal wrangling could take up to two years. That is good news for Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s illiberal prime minister, who faces elections in 2022.

Ahead of Thursday’s official announcement Orbán called the compromise “not just the European Union’s victory a victory of common sense.” He said: “It is obvious that when our nations and so many millions of people are in real need because of the pandemic and the economic consequences of that, we have to behave reasonably and to find a way.”

Hungary and Poland have been criticized by the EU over their perceived crackdown on independent media and limiting the independence of the judiciary and other institutions.


Both nations have rejected the accusations. They threatened to veto the crucial 1.1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) EU budget and the 750 billion-euro ($909 billion) in pandemic aid if funds were tied to rule-of-laws standards.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seemed satisfied with the deal. He stressed they worked out “precise conclusions.” Those conclusions would separate “the budgetary control, all the anti-corruption and anti-fraud regulations which we completely support and all the rule of law regulations.”

He suggested that Poland is against a political witchhunt. The prime minister wants that rules “clearly set out in the treaties should be followed according to those procedures. Mixing the two creates a very dangerous situation.”

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte still had questions. He feared the compromise would violate the agreement previously reached between EU member countries and the European Parliament.

Rutte stressed he also wants to be sure that any court ruling “can retroactively establish that violations of the rule of law have occurred.” However, in the end, the Dutch leader accepted the agreement.

Besides talks on the budget this week, the EU also faces the aftermath of Britain’s exit from the bloc. Britain’s foreign minister said Thursday that negotiations on a trade deal with the EU would reach a “moment of finality” this weekend, with both sides assessing chances of an agreement as slim.

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