All eyes were on the last-ditch dinner between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, Wednesday, December 9, to reach a deal on the relationship after Brexit. At the same time, another negotiation essential for the future of the EU was on the agenda. This one may be unraveling.
→ READ. Brexit: a dinner without unlocking in Brussels
The 27 still do not have a budgetary framework for the period 2021-2027, nor the necessary means to revive their economies after the pandemic crisis. While the budget wall of December 31 is approaching dangerously, a solution is emerging, with the key to a package of 1,800 billion euros, at the end of the Council of December 10 and 11.
Poland and Hungary have vetoed the draft regulation which is supposed to make the payment of European funds conditional on respect for the rule of law. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the helm of the EU until the end of the year, succeeded in wresting from her counterparts a “Preliminary agreement”.
A text by “Interpretative guarantees” on resolving the rule of law disharmony was submitted to Brussels. “The work and discussions are in progress, this agreement is the result of very relentless efforts”Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban talks about a ” good luck “ of success.
Since Hungary and Poland have put their veto, the European Commission is considering a fallback solution to organize a stimulus plan without these two countries, at 25. Warsaw would miss out on a windfall of 23.1 billion dollars euros, and Budapest would say goodbye to 6.2 billion euros. It was in their best interests to find common ground.
In search of unanimity
It remains to be seen whether this three-way deal will suit other heads of state and government. The 27 must in principle adopt a joint declaration on this subject, this Thursday, December 10. France, which leaves the field open to Berlin, should not play the troublemakers. The Elysee guard “Good hope” an unlocking “From here to the European Council” December 10 and 11.
The Northern States, and in particular the Netherlands at the head of the “Frugal” could get in the way. Already reluctant to the idea of a recovery plan involving a debt of 27, The Hague made a point of honor that the resources released do not fuel corruption or strengthen governments that do not respect the fundamental principles of Europe.
The issue of sovereignty
This “Preliminary agreement” recalls the right of countries targeted by a sanction to appeal. Budapest and Warsaw have, however, agreed to challenge the regulation itself in the EU Court of Justice before it even becomes operational. According to the Elysee, the two rebel capitals would have a green light for an appeal “Before the first sanctions are imposed on them”, which promises to lead to a heated debate in the European Parliament, which has the last word on the adoption of the budget.
→ EDITORIAL. The rule of law in Europe, a protection
Poland and Hungary fear above all that the sanction mechanism will serve as a pretext for interfering in the most disparaged aspects of their national policy. In a first version of the agreement, the EU undertook not to impose its migration policy on Hungary, and not to interfere with the conservative positions of the Polish majority on the family, while Warsaw has launched in a battle against “LGBT ideology”. In the end, there will be no writing. This is what it is all about.