Victor Orban writes to German presidency he is ready to veto EU budget

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban is prepared to veto the EU budget and the recovery fund if the payment of funds to member states is tied to the rule of law, Hungary Today reported, citing the pro-government site mandiner.hu. The prime minister has written to the EU German Presidency concerning the matter, the website said on Sunday.

Orban addressed his letter also to the leaders of next year’s EU presidencies, Slovenia and Portugal, as well as to Charles Michel, the Council’s head, and Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president.

The prime minister pledged Hungary’s commitment to cooperation but added that the government could not guarantee approval of the recovery package adopted in July due to the compromising of Hungarian interests regarding the rule-of-law-EU-payment issue.

Sanctions on EU member states would be agreed in the European Council by a qualified majority, according to an agreement reached between the Council and the presidency. Approval of the 7-year EU budget and €750bn Next Generation EU, however, requires unanimity in the Council.

Orban noted that the Hungarian legal system has been properly scrutinized by EU authorities and all outstanding disputes had been resolved. Further, Hungary has submitted “hundreds of pages” of clarification documents over the past two years in connection with the Article 7 procedure ongoing against the country.

The prime minister insisted that the Commission’s recent report on the rule of law was based on politically motivated charges against Hungary rather than being fact-based. He added that the report was a way of interfering in the democratic electoral processes of certain countries.

Orban said the planned sanctions mechanism was based on legally vague definitions such as “violation of the rule of law”. Such hazy concepts create opportunities for political abuses and breach the requirement of legal certainty, he wrote.

Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki has also indicated his willingness to use Poland’s veto if conditions regarding EU payments fall foul of Polish expectations.

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