Editorial of the “World”. How far will Poland and Hungary go in their rebellion against the European Union? By carrying out their threat to block the European recovery plan if it remains conditional on the application of the rule of law, the governments of Warsaw and Budapest are locked into an indefensible posture, which endangers the economies from twenty-five other member states. What is it really about? The nationalist governments in power in these two countries, controlled by the PiS (Law and Justice) of Jaroslaw Kaczynski and the Fidesz (Hungarian Civic Union) of Viktor Orban, have been in conflict for several years with Brussels over their treatment of the independence of justice and the media; this treatment, in the eyes of the European Commission and the European Parliament, contravenes the democratic values on which the EU is founded.
Badly equipped to resolve this type of conflict, the EU ended up seizing the opportunity of the massive recovery plan, linked to the European budget, adopted in July to jointly face the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to accept its conditions to the two recalcitrant countries: if they want to touch EU aid funds, they must comply with the demands of an independent judiciary.
The rule of law issue is different
It is not the first time that different visions of the common rules oppose the countries of Western Europe to those of post-communist Europe. The conflict that erupted in 2015 over the refugee quotas that Berlin and Brussels wanted to impose on member states revealed the depth of feeling in central Europe linked to a newly recovered national sovereignty. This sensitivity has been taken into account and compromises found.
But the question of the rule of law is different. First, because none of these countries can claim that it was unaware that it was a foundation of the Union when it joined. Then, because Poland and Hungary are, on this subject, isolated: unlike the migration issue, they do not have the support of any of the other ex-communist countries and in particular have lost that of their partners in the Visegrad group. , the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Finally, because there is no justification for such considerable funds being spent without their proper use being guaranteed by respect for the rules of law.
That the historic effort made by the Twenty-Seven during this pandemic to give themselves the means to come out jointly from the crisis could be thwarted by the obstinacy, for reasons of domestic policy, of two of them is nonsense and ideological blindness. EU leaders, along with Germany, which holds the rotating presidency, are working to find a compromise solution; it is to be hoped that the Polish and Hungarian leaders will approach this negotiation in a responsible spirit. It is also, after all, the economic rescue of their fellow citizens.
No, Prime Minister Orban, the European Union is not ” The soviet union “. Unlike the situation in the defunct Communist bloc, Hungary entered the EU of its own free will, and it can leave if it wishes. It’s complicated, but the UK did it. Four years after making the decision, according to a Pew Research Center study published on Wednesday, 60% of Britons have a favorable opinion of the EU. There must be a reason.