EU Budget Crisis! (4k)
The EU budget has hit the buffers with two member states refusing to sign up to it!
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EU Budget Crisis
And here was me thinking that our pro-EU mob in the UK had categorically told me that the EU was one big happy family.
Doesn’t look like it at the moment, does it? No!
We all know there are just 45 days to go until the end of the Brexit Implementation Period, but it is the same timescale for the EU to set up its seven-year budget from January the first 2021.
And right now that budget process has been thrown into crisis because two member states have refused to sign up to it.
And it puts enormous question marks over the new coronavirus recovery package the EU Commission is attempting to put in place with the budget.
If you remember, Brussels, with the help of the more affluent member states that pay in more than they take out, was trying to force through proposals to tie the behaviour of member states with their ability to draw on EU funding.
This was put forward as a way of ensuring that all member states followed the rule of law – the rule of EU law that is.
So member states would be forced to pay in, but if they wanted money out, they would need to ensure they were following all the latest Brussels pronouncements on how the bloc would be run.
Or no funding would be forthcoming.
And there are two target states at the moment that Brussels would be very keen on reining in. Poland and Hungary.
They are both under the EU microscope for failings where the rule of law is concerned – although the democratically elected governments of the two countries concerned would argue otherwise.
The Prime Ministers of both Hungary and Poland have written independently to their fellow EU leaders threatening to veto the budget because of this proposed link to the rule of law requirements.
The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban had written:
“Although Hungary is committed to cooperation, in the light of developments, it cannot provide the unanimity required for the package adopted in July.”
While the Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Facebook that these new rule of law mechanisms were:
“… based on arbitrary, politically motivated criteria …” and that if his country were to accept them it “… could lead to a legitimisation of the use of double standards …” where dealing with different member states was concerned.
And further he claimed that the:
“… proposed solutions are incompatible with the European Council’s conclusions from July.”
“That is why Poland cannot accept this version of the mechanism, which would lead to the primacy of political and arbitrary criteria over a substantive assessment.” He wrote.
You’d have thought that Brussels and the other EU member states could see the writing on the wall and try and find a compromise, but no.
And now that the other EU 27 leaders have refused to back down on these rule of law proposals, Hungary and Poland have refused to accept the budget.
And, as the budget needs unanimity, then it’s stuck. And should this continue then the conditions of the previous budget get rolled into the next one up until they agree on a new budget.
And in his normal low key and conciliatory tone, that arch EU federalist, Guy Verhofstadt Tweeted:
“The poker game has started. Time to call their bluff !”
You’d think that with a tad over six weeks to go with Brexit and a pandemic to deal with, they could afford to let this rule of law thing ride for the next seven-year budget cycle, wouldn’t you?
After all, they’ve got this far without it. And there are procedures for this sort of thing already laid down in the Treaties.
And it’s not like Poland and Hungary are going anywhere soon, is it? And they can’t be kicked out of the EU, can they?
But as ever, Brussels wants more power over the member states to force them to toe the line.
And like all power-hungry entities, it has to have that power right now.
And just like in EU dealings with the UK over Brexit, everyone is assuming size means might means winning.
The trouble is that the entire EU budget can be stopped in its tracks by not just two but by one dissenting member state.
And as the old budget numbers get rolled over with no rule of law sanctions and the current system being toothless, then what’s not to like for Hungary and Poland?